The Nurse Success Group, Inc. has been committed to improving patients’ lives in the healthcare environment for over 19 years. In that capacity, they have partnered with a variety of organizations and care providers. The Nurse Success Group’s business plan is to develop and promote excellent healthcare education programs, to identify technology applications and processes that can be applied to the changing environment, and to participate in developing and maintaining strategic industry relationships.
This Group has been involved with medical tourism for only a short time; they started incorporating it in 2011. One of their primary client bases is the home health industry. Once they recognized that home care agencies, medical facilitators/facilities, and patients/medical travelers needed to have some corporation when it comes to the benefit of having the support of home care for the patients who are medical travelers.
Melissa Kimble, RN, BSN, CWCN, CCM, HCS-D, COS-C, president of the Nurse Success Group, Inc. shared her insights about the industry.
What is the defining characteristic your company has within this industry?
We are unique because we have a clinician in the CEO position. What adds to our uniqueness is that we have worked with healthcare facilities that have a variety of specialties so we have designed educational products to meet those patient populations and their clinical/social needs. Additionally, we have worked for almost 15 years with a home care agency that services international patients and have a great understanding of the needs of inbound/outbound medical tourists. Through our growing international partnerships, we are able to better understand and meet the clinical challenges facing medical travelers and the clinicians serving them.
What is your opinion on the current state of the industry?
We believe that the industry will see a significant upswing with the “Silver Tsunami” that is heading our way. Never before has there been a more affluent, engaged and informed consumer. The baby boomers know what they want how they want it and will definitely go out and get it. Our challenge is to make sure the infrastructure for quality care is ready for them.
We cannot ignore the growing trend of insurance companies who are moving towards the medical tourism industry as a way to meet the clinical and financial demands of their consumer base.
We also believe women will be a larger portion of the medical traveler population once they understand the risks/benefits that it provides their situation.
What is holding companies back from investing in medical tourism?
Perhaps it is their inexperience in the healthcare model which is the more complex part of medical tourism. We feel it is important to insure clinical staff is available to medical travelers before, during and after the procedure to insure that the serving companies decrease liability and improve outcomes. Clinical staff that has accurate, high quality education improves a company’s chance for repeat business as well. Additionally, there is a perception of poor quality of care in other countries; much of it unfounded.
If you could solve the medical tourism consumer awareness crisis how would you do it?
An unlimited budget would help, but the first approach we would take is to flood the usual media outlets such as television, magazines and newspapers through accurate education. Additionally, we would use education through social media and finally, we would hope obtaining buy in from the government entities in both the inbound and outbound countries would be paramount in solving the crisis.
If you could have a medical tourism dream what would it be and what would you do to make it happen?
My dream would be to have financial support to provide quality, cost effective care for medical travelers who have gotten lost in their healthcare system whether it is because they are underfunded or because they have had failed treatment and must seek alternative therapies outside their home country.
I would also empower many, many more clinicians to get into the medical tourism industry so that they would be able to enjoy success as an entrepreneur.
Making the opportunities happen for patients will require the consistent message to payer sources, foundations and employers that medical tourism can be a safe, quality solution for many patients.