Industry News: Volume 9, Issue 21

MEDICAL TRAVEL COMPANIONS: THE UNSUNG CAREGIVERS

By: Laura Carabello, Western Pennsylvania Healthcare News

wphealthcarenews.com – Among those who travel across the country or around the world to seek affordable, quality healthcare, 83 percent travel with a companion. Whether undergoing treatments or recovery, the physical and moral support that these caregiver/companions bring to medical travel patients is critical.

In fact, research consistently shows that companion participation in care is associated with positive patient and physician experiences. Informal healthcare providers include friends, family, and some volunteers who provide essential unpaid care without formal training.

At home, caregivers administer medications, manage wounds and assist with rehabilitation. In hospital settings, they perform tasks that augment care provided by nurses and physicians, such as monitoring symptoms and articulating patients’ preferences to healthcare professionals.

The support of a companion/caregiver is important in any healthcare setting, but it is especially critical in the context of medical travel where patients may face additional challenges, such as travel, an unfamiliar physical environment, a different culture and potential language barriers.

They also help to retain and transfer the patient’s medical information at a medical facility, advocate on behalf of the patient to ensure all their needs are being met, and provide a safe and positive medical travel experience.

Many of the medical travel caregiver roles are similar to those of conventional caregivers — making decisions on behalf of the patient, liaising with formal providers, coordinating appointment scheduling, offering hands-on care, providing emotional and spiritual support, and taking responsibility for managing care-related finances.

In medical travel, family members, especially spouses, are the most common caregiver, and perform their caregiving roles as knowledge broker, companion and advocate almost continuously while traveling domestically or abroad for care.

Knowledge Brokers and Companions

Medical travel caregivers play the important role of conveying travel and medical/health information between the facility staff and patient. For instance, they may ask questions about travel logistics or prescriptions or care options, and make sure the patient understands the information. In some cases, the caregiver may be more familiar with the local language and will serve as an interpreter or translator for the patient. Frequently, they are aware of the patient’s allergies, carry a list of the patient’s medications, ask questions and take notes during discussions with healthcare providers.

Ideally, companions put the patient’s needs ahead of their own and assist and support the patient during the pre-op, treatment and post-op process. At times, this may mean making sure the patient gets to different tests or appointments, watching over the patient after surgery or simply offering emotional support. Caregivers also learn about the patient’s condition, the procedure or treatment, and details surrounding the patient’s convalescence and recovery.

At the same time, companion/caregivers should look for opportunities to spend some time to enjoy the local culture and attractions, if possible, as long as it doesn’t compromise their primary job of supporting the patient’s well-being.

Keep in mind that serving as a medical traveler companion/caregiver is not for everyone. A competent caregiver can improve the patient’s health, but one who is less prepared or more focused on sightseeing than assisting the patient, can undermine the care provided. That’s why it’s important for healthcare providers to educate patients and companions about the role of companion/caregiver during a medical trip.

Unseen Pillars of the Care Community

Companion/caregivers ensure the patient’s health and well-being and shoulder a large part of the responsibilities that might otherwise fall to the patient. In this way, caregivers serve to complement the care provided at the hospital facility and buffer medical tourists from the common stresses associated with travel and being in a new environment.

Given the integral roles that caregivers serve, clearly the medical travel industry is highly dependent on this unpaid service. Just as many of the nation’s caregivers are overlooked, so too are the “shadow workers” in medical travel unpaid, untrained, and largely unrecognized for the substantial benefits they provide.

To view the original article, click here.

 

UNSUNG HEROES: CAREGIVERS PLAY VITAL ROLE FOR MEDICAL TRAVELERS

By: Laura Carabello, Health News Digest

healthnewsdigest.com – Medical tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry that is expected to grow up to 25 percent every year for the next ten years.  As more companies and consumers recognize  the socio-economic advantages of combining the benefits of traveling for treatment – low cost, high quality, less waiting and more options – with the enjoyment of travel, demand will grow exponentially. This is true whether the destination is in the U.S. or around the world.

Two for the Road

Among those who travel for affordable, quality healthcare, either domestically or abroad, 83 percent do so with a companion. Whether undergoing treatments or recovery, the physical and moral support that these caregiver/companions bring to medical travel patients is crucial for a full recovery.

In fact, research demonstrates that companion participation in care is associated with positive patient and physician experiences. Informal healthcare providers include friends, family, and some volunteers who provide essential unpaid care without formal training.

At home, caregivers administer medications, manage wounds and assist with rehabilitation. In hospital settings, they perform tasks that augment care provided by nurses and physicians, such as monitoring symptoms and articulating patients’ preferences to healthcare professionals.

No matter what the setting or location, a companion/caregiver is particularly critical with medical travel because patients may face challenges related to travel, being in an unfamiliar physical environment, and grappling with a different culture and potential language barriers.

Companions play a key role in retaining and transferring the patient’s medical information at a medical facility. They also serve as advocates on behalf of the patient to ensure all their needs are being met and provide a safe and positive medical travel experience.

Many of the medical travel caregiver roles are similar to those of conventional caregivers. They make decisions on behalf of the patient, liaise with formal providers, coordinate appointment scheduling, offer hands-on care, provide emotional and spiritual support, and take responsibility for managing care-related finances.

When it comes to medical travel, family members, especially spouses, are the most common caregivers. They perform their caregiving roles as knowledge brokers, companions and advocates on a continuous basis during the entire trip, as well as back home.

Being the Best Companion/Caregiver

Medical travel caregivers play the essential task of delivering travel and medical/health information between the facility staff and patient. For example, they may ask questions about travel logistics or prescriptions or care options, and ensure the patient understands the information. In some cases, the companion/caregiver may be more familiar with the local language and will serve as an interpreter or translator for the patient. Frequently, they are aware of the patient’s allergies, carry a list of the patient’s medications, ask questions and take notes during discussions with healthcare providers.

The best, most effective, companion/caregivers put the patient’s needs ahead of their own and assist and support the patient during the pre-op, treatment and post-op process. At times, this means ensuring the patient gets to different tests or appointments, watching over the patient after surgery or simply offering emotional support. Caregivers also learn about the patient’s condition, the procedure or treatment, and details surrounding the patient’s convalescence and recovery.

During this time, companion/caregivers should look for opportunities to spend some time to enjoy the local culture and attractions, if possible, as long as it doesn’t compromise their primary job of supporting the patient’s well-being.

It’s important, however, to understand that being a medical traveler companion/caregiver can be a challenging job. A competent caregiver can improve the patient’s health, but one who is less prepared or more focused on sightseeing than assisting the patient, can undermine the care provided. That’s why healthcare providers should do what they can to educate patients and companions about the role of companion/caregiver during a medical trip.

Ensuring Health and Well-Being Around the Globe

Companion/caregivers make sure the patient’s health and well-being is a priority and take on the responsibilities that might otherwise fall to the patient. In this way, caregivers serve to complement the care provided at the hospital facility and buffer medical tourists from the common stresses associated with travel and being in a new environment.

Clearly the medical travel industry is highly dependent on this unpaid service. Just as many of the nation’s caregivers are overlooked, so too are these unsung heroes going unpaid, untrained, and largely unrecognized for the substantial benefits they provide.

To view the original article, click here.

 

THE SHIFT SHAPERS PODCAST WITH DAVID SALTZMAN

shiftshapersonline.com – Ep #207: Better, Less Expensive Medical Care – Beach Included! With Laura Carabello

Laura Carabello, Founder and Principal at CPR Strategic Marketing and Communication has spent the last 10 years focusing on domestic and international medical tourism. In this fast-paced episode, we discuss the inroads that both types of medical travel have made, beginning with jumbo employers and working their way to more recent acceptance and adoption by the mid-market.

We also explore some of the pricing mechanisms behind the trend and why these facilities deliver high-quality care, great patient satisfaction, and impressive savings to plans and employers. Laura explains how plans can communicate these benefits and what advisors need to know to connect their employers with appropriate facilities.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Why the take-up has seemed slow, despite the savings and quality.
  • Which facilities are in the forefront of delivering these services.
  • That Adoption by business coalitions has been strong.
  • How pharmacy is being brought into the arrangements.
  • How to find “Centers of Excellence” and why they are important.

To listen to the full interview, click here.

 

JAPANESE LAWMAKERS PUSH FOR LEGISLATION TO BAN MEDICAL TOURISM TO CHINE FOR ORGAN TRANSPLANTS

By: Annie Wu, Epoch Times

theepochtimes.com – Japanese lawmakers expressed their commitment to passing comprehensive legislation prohibiting organ transplant tourism during a recent meeting at the National Diet.

On Jan. 23, a panel on medical genocide was held at the National Diet Building with Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour, and Dr. Jacob Lavee, president of the Israel Society of Transplantation.

Matas and Kilgour have investigated the phenomenon of forced organ harvesting in China for over a decade, revealing China’s state-sanctioned system of extracting organs from prisoners of conscience and then selling the organs for profit for transplant surgery. Their research indicates that most of the prisoners, who are killed in the process, are adherents of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, a meditation-based discipline that has been severely suppressed by the Chinese regime since 1999.

Patients in desperate need of an organ transplant have increasingly traveled to China for surgery, where they report being able to procure a matching organ within weeks or months—far shorter than the waiting period in their home countries based on organ donations.

But medical tourists have unwittingly contributed to China’s dark organ harvesting trade, where the quick turnaround in scheduling transplantation operations is due to the state’s killing on demand, Matas and Kilgour have found.

The two, who have co-authored several studies on China’s forced organ harvesting, estimate that transplant volume in China may have reached tens of thousands annually since the year 2000. They report that the most likely source for the majority of these organs are detained Falun Gong practitioners.

The panelists spoke to Japanese lawmakers about the dangers of medical tourism and raising awareness about voluntary organ donations—which have historically been limited in Japan (and China, for that matter) due to cultural customs of leaving the dead intact.

According to the Japan Organ Transplant Network, up to June 2017, the national list of those in need of an organ transplant reached 13,450.

Japan currently has laws prohibiting the buying and selling of organs but has not yet placed a ban on citizens traveling abroad for organ transplant surgery. Taiwan, Norway, Chile, and Israel have passed laws limiting their citizens’ ability to receive organ transplants abroad, citing concerns about unknown sourcing in the organ trade.

In Israel, any monetary transaction of organs, within or outside of Israel, is banned, whereas in Taiwan, doctors can still refer patients to overseas hospitals that acquire organs through legitimate means. However, doctors are required to file a report and conduct follow-up treatment for all patients who receive transplants overseas. Hospitals and doctors who do not file reports or are found to have filed false reports will be fined and charged. Patients found to have acquired organs through illegal means face up to five years in prison and a monetary fine.

Dr. Lavee, the Israeli heart transplant surgeon, said that though China claims to have stopped accepting overseas patients, the reality is that many from North America, Europe, and countries in Asia continue to travel to China for transplant surgery, according to Sound of Hope Radio. He also noted that Israel, like Japan, has cultural taboos against organ donations, but in recent years, public awareness campaigns and incentives for living donors have dramatically increased the number of donations.

Member of the Japanese Diet’s House of Representatives, Minoru Kiuchi, said forced organ harvesting is “an issue of international human rights that everyone ought to be concerned about.”

“Beginning with Japanese people with good conscience, we need to work with those who share the same values, stand up together and stop this from happening,” Kiuchi added.

Ishibashi Rintaro, a representative from Hiroshima, said he will tell people in his hometown about this atrocity, while Hiroshi Yamada, member of the upper chamber, the House of Councilors, said Japanese people cannot be “accomplices” to China’s crimes.

Yamada helped organize a conference inside the Diet building in December 2017, where Matas and Kilgour explained their study’s findings to members of the public, media, medical experts, and government officials.

The conference built on media attention to this issue after Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun published a report in July 2017 about Japanese medical tourists who traveled to China for transplant surgery. Months later, in October, a group of Japanese journalists formed the “Caution Against China Organ Transplant Association,” aimed at stopping Japanese transplant tourism. The January panel was the association’s first organized event.

To view the original article, click here.

 

SHIJA HOSPITALS TO SET UP FIRST EVER ‘HEALTHCITY’ IN MANIPUR

By: Northeast Today

northeasttoday.in – Shija Hospitals and Research Institute Pvt. Ltd. and Sun and Sands Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. singed a historic MOU for the development of ‘Shija HealthCity’ in Manipur. The historic agreement was signed in the presence of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh which was held at Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said that such historic moment is an outcome of the NorthEast Development Summit 2017(NEDS 2017). “The government is trying its best to execute a number of MOUs with outside investors in the comings days. After the NEDS 2017, many investors are visiting the State to invest their money in various sectors.”

He further said that” we need to encourage private sector as we can’t accommodate everything in the government sector. We have to encourage PPP model for the welfare of the people. He maintained that such MOU would definitely help those poor and needy people of the State.”

Dr. Palin Kh., CMD of Shija Hospitals said that “Manipur have all the opportunities like human resource, geographical advantage, India’s Act East Policy, Tourism, Powerhouse of Sports and there is a huge demand of our nurses and paramedics in countries like Japan and Singapore.”

Mentioning that over 700 Manipuri students are undergoing MBBS course in foreign countries, Dr. Palin said that “Manipur needs a compensatory exponential infrastructure development in healthcare delivery system to prevent the huge economic drainage from the State due to the healthcare and health related education and rather attract more medical tourists and students from the country and abroad.”

“Singing of such MOU would bring a paradigm shift in the healthcare scenario of the state,” he added.

Rahul Narvekar, CEO of Sun and Sands Enterprises Pvt Ltd. assured that his company would build 100 start-up entrepreneurs from Manipur. He mentioned that Manipur has huge potential in medical tourism. Mentioning that Manipur has largest number of trained nurse in the country after Kerala, he stated that if we provide Japanese language training to them then they could easily get employment in Japan.

Shija HealthCity Manipur is a 200 acres mega project with an estimated project cost of about Rs.3,500 crores. The objective of the project is to bring an inclusive growth based on the healthcare and education.

Major features of the HealthCity are 2300 bedded hospitals, Medical College up to 250 students intake, Dental College, Nursing College, Hotel & hospitality management institute, Cancer Hospital, Drugs and surgical consumable manufacturing plants, Residential Complex, Shopping complex, Ambulance including Helicopter Services etc.

To view the original article, click here.

 

ITALY TO FOCUS MORE ON MEDICAL TOURISM

By: Anna Luebke, Tourism Review

tourism-review.com – After food, culture, fashion and design, health is another candidate to become one of the distinctive features of Made in Italy. The goal is to make Italy a top destination of medical tourism.

Medical tourism is a complex social and economic phenomenon that has an estimated global value of over 100 billion dollars per year. About 10 million patients travel from their homeland to seek treatment abroad, or they travel within their country.

A survey by the European Commission for Transport and Tourism focused on medical tourism in EU. Within the 28 states of the Union, 56 million domestic arrivals and just over 5 million internationals were registered.

Of these, 4.3% were linked to health reasons (almost 6% of national arrivals and just over 1% of internationals), with an overall value of 47 billion euro. This represents 4.6% of the turnover of the entire EU tourism sector.

The incidence of health in the motivation of incoming trips from non-EU countries is higher, reaching 6% of the total. The stakes are high, and the lowering cost of air travel has greatly improved access to healthcare and medical tourism industry as well. Especially for patients coming from countries with poor healthcare systems or long waiting lists. This factor, along with others, is driving the growth of the sector.

According to estimates, Italy generates a revenue of 2 billion euro thanks to medical tourism.

For now, the balance is negative. There are about 200 thousand Italians going abroad for treatment, mainly for dental, aesthetic or hair treatment. On the other hand, only 5 thousand foreigners arrived in Italy – mainly from Arab countries, Russia, Switzerland and the Balkans – for medical treatment. They are mainly driven by highly specialized treatments in neurology, cardiology, oncology and orthopedics. This is reflected in the average expenditure between 20 and 70 thousand euros.

Italy is still far from the 1.2 million patients received in Thailand or a million in Mexico, but the country is moving in the right direction. “We have created a working table with the ministry of tourism and those of Foreign Affairs and Health to identify private companies of excellence and enhance the segment of medical tourism. This will open up markets and bring resources to our health system in a field that must be enhanced,” Dorina Bianchi, a political representative, noted.

To view the original article, click here.

 

GOODNESS DENTAL NAMED BEST DENTAL TOURISM CLINIC IN CENTRAL AMERICA

By: James Madigan, NBC 12

nbc12.com – Every month, thousands of Americans, most in their retirement years, visit dental clinics in Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala and other Central American nations to take advantage of affordable dental care. In many countries throughout Central America, dental care is often priced at fifty to seventy percent less than the same care in the USA and Canada. Costa Rica and Guatemala have distinguished themselves as leading dental tourism destinations. Their leading dental clinics are ranked among some of the best dental clinics in the world, putting these Central American nations on the map as preferred hotspots for affordable, high quality dental care.

The majority of patients that travel to Costa Rica or Guatemala for dental care are first time visitors to the region. Many patients have never traveled outside of the USA before, and experience typical jitters and fears of being in a strange country, compounded by their fear of receiving complex dental care so far from home. However, within a short period of time, most patients feel calm and relaxed, and most are excited to begin their smile transformation.

According to CostaRicaDentalGuide.com, the leading dental tourism clinics in Costa Rica have been in business for many years and have a great deal of experience caring for American and Canadian patients. They understand the need to provide quality care at reasonable prices and to complete all dental work quickly, so that patients can return home within 7-10 days. The leading clinics provide patients with a general care timeline and assist with accommodations and transfers to and from the clinic.

CostaRicaDentalGuide.com ranks Goodness Dental as the leading dental clinic in Costa Rica. Global Clinic Rating (GCR.org) also lists Goodness Dental as the #1 dental clinic in Costa Rica. GCR ranks 125,954 dental clinics around the world compiling data on facilities, expertise, outcomes and patient reviews to determine the leading clinics in the world. On a global scale, Goodness Dental has earned a top spot as the #16 ranked clinic in the world and the highest ranked dental clinic in Central America.

In Guatemala, Goodness Dental is rated as the best clinic in the nation by GuatemalaDentalGuide.com. Global Clinic Rating also ranks Goodness Dental with the highest level of expertise and the best overall facilities. In the global rankings, Goodness Dental Guatemala reached the #33 spot out of nearly 126,000 dental clinics worldwide.

James Madigan, CEO of CostaRicaDentalGuide.com and GuatemalaDentalGuide.com believes the future of dental care in Central America is very bright. “Hundreds of patients choose dental clinics in Costa Rica and Guatemala every month. These patients save tens of thousands of dollars when compared to the high rates for dental care at home,” says Madigan. “Clinics like Goodness Dental represent the highest standards of care and have the highest patient ratings in the dental tourism industry. I visited their Google and Facebook pages and saw hundreds of patient testimonials and photos of happy, smiling patients that just saved a bundle on complex dental care like dental implants, full mouth restorations and all on 4 dental implant solutions. Clinics like this have positioned Central America as the leading dental destination for American patients.”

Global Clinic Rating included this brief statement in their review of Goodness Dental. “The Goodness dental brand is well recognized across the Central America region, and has made a big dent in the dental tourism sector.” Goodness Dental has “invested in the latest high-class facilities to provide a state-of-art medical service.”
Patrick Goodness, CEO of Goodness Dental in Costa Rica and Guatemala is proud of his team’s accomplishments and leadership. “Costa Rica and Guatemala have a large number of outstanding dentists, oral surgeons and dental specialists. This is a very competitive marketplace with many excellent clinics. For Goodness Dental to rank as the number one clinic in Costa Rica and to be recognized for the highest level of expertise and best overall facilities in Guatemala is a huge achievement for our team,” says Goodness.

When asked about what sets Goodness Dental apart from the other dental clinics in Central America, Goodness replied, “As an American-owned dental clinic, we set high standards for patient care and we make sure that every patient receives the most personal attention possible. We pick our patients up at the airport, help them plan their hotel accommodations and even help them plan special events like anniversary dinners and special birthday celebrations. Just yesterday, we spoke with a man who wants to propose to his girlfriend after he gets his full mouth restoration at our clinic. We’re planning a special proposal at a private island location in Costa Rica to make this proposal one they’ll never forget.”

Dr. Claudia Bruns, Clinic Director for Goodness Dental Guatemala is ecstatic that Goodness Dental is ranked as the most popular dental clinic in Central America. “We do what we do because we love to make our patients smile. It’s wonderful to be recognized for our work and be ranked among the best clinics in the world,” says Bruns. “Our international accreditation gives patients complete confidence that we meet strict international standards.”

“We are very excited to see Goodness Dental succeeding in dental tourism,” says Vlado Hruda, CEO of Global Clinic Rating. “They have followed our guidelines and adopted best practices from around the world to rank as a top clinic in Central America. With a GCR score of 4+ stars, patients know they are choosing a clinic that is comparable to the best 1% of clinics in the USA & worldwide.” Goodness Dental is fully accredited by GCR and provides patients with a lifetime guarantee on dental implants. Goodness Dental is also ranked as the best dental clinic for all on 4 dental implants in Costa Rica and Guatemala.

To view the original article, click here.

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