Fifteen years ago we started noticing a trend of international visitors coming to Puerto Rico to visit Sononuclear RP for PET CT scans. We were the first center in the Caribbean to offer this technology making it accessible to patients with- out having to travel to the United States.
At first I started assisting them with little things like translating the medical forms, calling their relatives to let them know they were all right, taking them back to the airport or bringing the results back to their hotel so they would not have to spend so much money on taxis, etc.
And it was on those rides back to the airport or trying to make international phone calls that I learned how complicated, expensive and apprehensive these patients’ travel experiences could be. I knew this did not have to be this hard.
I could see that there was a market niche for medical services and that I wanted to be part of it. However, I had no idea what I could do, what kind of business I could start within this industry, the resources I would need or how to go about finding clients.
Last year I became a Certified Medical Tourism Professional. The all day training as well as the yearly online courses opened up a whole new way of looking at this industry. I was given insights on the total international patient experience, beginning from cultural differences to what procedures patients are traveling for.
I was taught about protocols and services, permits and insurance needed to start, marketing strategies and getting your group of providers together.
But the thing I have come to value the most, has been the accessibility of the MTA team support. Mary Miller and Esperanza Herrera have a speed dial number on my cellular. They have answered questions from how to determine price, commissions to even help translate words to Spanish from this industry so new to us.
I have saved emails from them with words of encouragement that I look at every time I feel a little overwhelmed or lost.
Treat yourself to a Certified Medical Tourism Professional course. Trust me, it is worth it.
Liza Torres received her CMTP in September 2015. Last year, as a result of her CMTP certification, she incorporated Medlinks PR, based in San Juan Puerto Rico, a health and wellness agency that provides medical services to patients in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. For more information, www.medlinkspr.com.