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Patient Processing Clinica Biblica Style

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We interviewed Brad Cook Managing Director of the International Department of Clinica Biblica Hospital in Costa Rica to find out just what it is like to be a patient looking for medical treatment at their hospital and what a patient might expect from beginning to end.

Generally most patients looking for healthcare overseas start their search on the Internet. Milling through the web pages some in English some not performing your own due diligence can be very wearing. In an effort to make this process easier Clinica Biblica Hospital established an international patient department specifically dedicated to making life a little easier for the foreign patient.

We interviewed Brad Cook Managing Director of this Department to learn a little more about what their role is in the lives of their patients.We receive a call or Web form from the prospective patient and based on the information received we then put together a price estimate for the requested procedure together with a brief description of the procedure details concerning recommended arrival date length of the procedure inpatient or outpatient and how many days are recommended for recovery says Cook.

We also request additional information such as photos medical records and require the patient to complete a detailed medical questionnaire.Cook went on to explain The scheduling process includes a pre-operative consultation with the physician and the procedure itself with follow-up care if required. Generally scheduling of these appointments may be made on the day the patient first contacts the international department depending on the availability of medical records and the particular health conditions of the patient.

Wait times are almost non-existent at Clinica Biblica as they run a tight ship. It is not unheard of for a patient to contact us on Monday and schedule his or her surgery for Thursday says Cook.However most patients have a long list of questions and are usually not so quick to commit to the surgery on such short notice. They typically have questions they would like answered by the physicians usually relating to the doctors qualifications questions about the hospital the type of pre-op tests involved accommodation issues and what the price estimate involves.

We are seeing patients taking a much more proactive approach to their medical care and performing their due diligence since they are traveling out of their comfort zone says Cook. Patients traveling abroad for healthcare are in some cases asking more questions and doing more research on their physicians than they would actually do at hospitals in the U.S. and this is a very good thing as they are taking control of their healthcare he added Over the course of several days many emails and calls are exchanged between the international department staff of Clinica Biblica in order to make the patient feel completely at ease about the decision.

The staff generally will make arrangements for the doctor to speak with the patient by phone or by web cam from their office.Once the decision to travel to Costa Rica for the surgery has been made the staff sends the patient a formal itinerary confirming all medical services. If the patient desires staff will meet the patient and any companions at the airport and assist them through Customs.

From there air-conditioned vans driven by bilingual guides deliver the patient to their prearranged hotel accommodations.On the day of the pre-operative consultation we arrange for patient pick-up and transfer to the hospital and personally assist the patient every step of the way affirms Cook. A staff member escorts the patient through pre-operative tests and doctors appointments assisting with translation if required.

The international staff generally matches a prospective patient with an English speaking physician unless of course the patient requests a specific surgeon based upon referral specific experience of qualifications for a certain procedure or if the patient is bilingual. Costa Rica receives a large number of Spanish speaking patients from the United States.On the day of the surgery the patient is picked up and transported to the hospital where our staff meets the patient for admission.

After the surgery staff periodically visit the patient to assure all needs are being met and will then transport the patient to a hotel with a bilingual registered nurse escort. This registered nurse will then continue to visit the patient periodically over the next few days to assist with bandages or injections if required administer medications and to monitor the patients recovery process.A day or so before the intended departure the patient is escorted to the hospital for final evaluation before returning home. A complete medical examination is performed to assure the patient is ready to travel.

Then on the day of departure the patient is transported to the airport where the staff assists with procuring a wheel chair if needed. Cook says that even after the patient returns home their staff continues with a close follow-up to make sure the patient is recovering according to plan.The international staff can also schedule tourism events for friends and family traveling with the patient if requested. Arrangements and transportation can be provided to visit some of Costa Ricas exotic attractions says Cook but generally this is done before the surgery.

Cook informs patients that their surgery procedure can be scheduled very quickly. Once the decision is made and unless there are extenuating circumstances such as the need for extensive medical records or X-rays the surgery can usually be scheduled in a matter of days. All surgery procedures require a medical consultation where the patient is present with the surgeon before the actual procedure is done. For very delicate procedures such as open heart surgery a long distance consultation with the surgeon may be requested.

What are the recovery times suggested by the international staff? It all depends on the medical procedure and the health condition of the patient states Cook. We recommend the following general guidelines which may be adjusted according to each patient health situation. Cosmetic surgery may take 7-14 days Bariatric surgery 5-7 days Orthopedics 7-10 days dental procedures require usually no more than 24 hours he added.

Does this mean you can get a new smile in less than two days? Definitely says Cook.Brad Cook is founder and director of Medical Tours Costa Rica and Segrupex S.A. Brad has more than 13 years experience coordinating medical services for international patients at Clinica Biblica Hospital in Costa Rica where his company runs the International Department for the hospital.

Under his direction the International Department has been instrumental in forging relationships with insurance companies throughout the world positioning Clinica Biblica Hospital as a premier destination for international travelers. Mr. Cook is frequently contacted by local hospitals and international billing agencies for assistance and services in regards to international insurance billing.Mr. Cook launched the Medical Tourism initiative for Clinica Biblica Hospital orchestrating an aggressive service oriented model that has helped position Clinica Biblica Hospital as one of the premiere destinations in the region for medical services.

His marketing efforts have been successful in attracting local and international media outlets for segments and stories regarding Medical Tourism. He has also been proactive contracting with and hosting medical tourism companies from around the world.

Renee-Marie Stephano is the Chief Operating Officer and a Founder of the Medical Tourism Association Inc. an international non-profit organization that serves international healthcare providers and medical travel facilitators in the global healthcare industry. Renee-Marie is an attorney licensed to practice law in the states of Florida Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has a background in litigation and health law. She is also Editor of the Medical Tourism Magazine a monthly journal serving the global healthcare industry by free subscription at

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