Over the past year, The Medical Tourism Association has been working with many governments throughout Latin America and other regions of the world to provide educational programs about the importance of improving healthcare quality in their country not only for medical tourists, but also for their local patients as well.
Medical Tourism has many valuable benefits in addition to bringing in revenue from foreigners. Some of the positive aspects include improving the quality of healthcare facilities and increasing the number of international accredited healthcare facilities. As more medical tourists travel internationally, more investors build new hospitals, clinics and expand existing facilities. As global competition increases, top international hospitals compete on the medical technology side, each trying to outdo the other with the latest and most advanced medical technology. In the end, it can be the local patient who benefits, having improved access to advanced medical technology they otherwise would not have had.
As one if its tenets and missions, the Medical Tourism Association is committed to transparency in the quality of healthcare for foreign and local populations and assisting hospitals and governments in understanding the importance of accreditation, both nationally and internationally. Healthcare standards and the enforcement of those standards is paramount to the delivery of high quality healthcare services to patients and high positive patent outcomes. Governments have an increased awareness of the economic and social benefit of encouraging the use of international standards and accreditation in growing their healthcare infrastructure and attracting new healthcare projects and investors into the country. Investors are not likely to build new healthcare facilities in regions or countries where there is no strong underlying medical system and where the government fails to provide for a high quality healthcare system.
Education is the key to raising awareness options regarding international accreditation. More and more governments realize the benefits of investing in accreditation as a national program and the sustainability resulting from protecting the public sector in the process. However, there are competing accreditation schemes. We use the word “competing” because international accreditation has become “big business,” and many of the accreditation systems are aggressively trying to out-position the others in new regions or countries, and establish themselves as leaders in international accreditation.
What unfortunately results in a loss in this competition, are the needs of the local population and the hospitals and clinics that do not have the financial resources for international accreditation, get pushed to the wayside. Through an integrated and systematic approach to medical tourism, ministries of health and ministries of tourism can work together to take advantage of the benefits of international accreditation to raise the standards of healthcare in the entire country, both in the public and private sectors. Reinvestment in the public healthcare sector combined with preventative medicine and educational health programs may be a direct result of the rewards of medical tourism initiatives. The MTA looks forward to working with numerous governments in their efforts in designing sustainable and national healthcare initiatives in this regard. Educational partnerships are available to assist in setting up healthcare clusters and in developing programs to improve the quality of healthcare in the regions.
As an industry it is important that we come together to protect national populations while attracting international patients, using opportunities of growth and investment to expand existing healthcare systems and maintain high positive patient outcomes globally.
For more information about educational programs offered through the MTA, please contact Renee@medicaltourismassociation.com.
Renée-Marie Stephano is 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. Renée-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 journal serving the global healthcare industry. It can be found online at
www.medicaltourismmag.com. Renée-Marie may be reached at