Technology Solutions for the Medical Tourism Industry

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As medical tourism grows, the industry needs to understand that a true, sustainable growth model must include technology investment. Paradoxically, hospitals and clinics with state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology and the most up to- date Hospital Information Systems (HIS) to manage patients are sadly lacking in the tools and services they provide to their international patient departments.

The international patient departments as well as facilitators and referrers who contribute greatly to them still operate in an environment of excel spreadsheets, manila folders, and undocumented and inconsistent processes, which ultimately translate to lost potential, higher costs, mediocre patient experiences, and overall lack of growth and revenue.

Primary interactions that international patient departments or facilitators have with a lead/patient occur before or after the procedure. These interactions, key to the success of the medical tourism experience, fall outside the realm of traditional HIS, which typically begins when the patient walks in the door.


Arguably, an effective customer relationship management (CRM) and patient management system is the most significant enabler to bridge the current gap and play a major role in redefining the relationship between the providers/facilitators and their patients.

The Medical Tourism Association® has partnered with Health Flights Solutions to deliver appropriate technology answers to address specific and unique needs of the medical tourism industry. Health Flights Solutions’ product, iHealthCRM®, is a CRM and patient management system for healthcare service providers, facilitators, insurance companies and employers.


iHealthCRM® provides content management, business process management, CRM, patient management, quote generation, business collaboration, and a host of other features. iHealthCRM is a cloud-based solution built specifically for medical tourism, thus eliminating specialized hardware or the need to invest in customizing or developing expensive proprietary software solutions.

iHealthCRM® can be configured by each participant to create a personal optimum business model, increase efficiency, drive down costs, substantially improve relationship interactions and, most importantly, do all this while staying in compliance with the stringent security and privacy regulations.

While the advantages of using a specialized system like iHealthCRM are many, let’s enumerate a few.

Getting leads and not converting them is akin to throwing money down the drain.

Lead Capture and Conversion

Generating leads is an extremely difficult and expensive process. But, getting leads and not converting them is akin to throwing money down the drain. The initial challenge is consolidating leads from the different channels, such as your website, marketing partners, facilitators, or even purchased leads, into the single system and, subsequently, working, managing and converting the leads.


There are many inexpensive CRM systems that can help you get there, at least partially. But, as they are not built for the medical tourism industry, they fail to provide the security and privacy needed for personal health based interactions. Nor do they understand the role that each channel plays or provide the tools to handle the complexities of “post-sale” interactions.

The inherent physical distances in the medical tourism industry are best bridged by a collaborative, interactive platform that brings together all entities in this ecosystem.


iHealthCRM is not an adaptation of an existing CRM product, but is built from the ground up for the medical tourism industry with the understanding that leads can generate from a simple website request, facilitators, marketing partners or agents, a phone call, a marketing campaign or a variety of other sources. , iHealthCRM® understands that the process of managing these leads is complex, and travelling for a medical procedure requires a lot more hand-holding than the simple provision of a service list to the patient.

Collaboration

The inherent physical distances in the medical tourism industry are best bridged by a collaborative, interactive platform that brings together all entities in this ecosystem. iHealthCRM offers service providers, facilitators, employers and insurance companies a collaborative platform to create partnerships, facilitate referrals, manage quotes, share roles and responsibilities, keep up-to-date on service offerings and prices, share information, reduce duplication of effort, and facilitate structured growth.

Consistent Customer Experience

Satisfied customers are your best advertisers. Customer satisfaction affects your bottom line, but, unfortunately, satisfaction is fleeting. The entire process, not merely the treatment or surgery, impacts the patient experience.


Creating and implementing repeatable business processes, a clear division of responsibilities, and the ability to use workflows, templates and scripts through a process-driven system like iHealthCRM are essential elements that contribute to the delivery of a consistent and superior patient experience.


Moreover, shifting the focus to real-time interactions with the patient, empowering the patient, and providing transparency through a secure patient portal can greatly strengthen the overall relationship and total customer experience.

Effective Use of Resources

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Employee costs are one of the highest cost components, and the lack of tools to help define roles and implement repeatable processes leads to not only higher staff requirements, but a less effective team without the ability to contribute diligently to overall strategic initiatives.


A system that helps to convert leads and generate more business, automate processes and reduce staffing requirements, and provide tools to make the team more effective can pay for itself in a few short months.


Choosing to maintain the status quo or directing resources toward marketing alone instead of effectively managing, converting and servicing leads and patients, or implementing the wrong tools can prove more expensive in the long run.

Compliance

Most importantly, with stringent regulations covering protected health information, reasonable safeguards applied to protect patient information from inappropriate use or disclosure is imperative. Violations of country or region-specific security or medical privacy regulations can lead to severe civil and criminal penalties.


Common practices, such as the use of non-encrypted emails or insecure email channels like Gmail/Yahoo to share protected health information, can be eliminated with a system like iHealthCRM, which uses secure email built on the same principles of bank mail.


Similarly, storing personal and protected health information on insecure excel spreadsheets can be replaced by storing information on secure servers with restricted, role-based access controls.

A sound business strategy can fall flat on its face without infrastructure to support it. Healthcare delivery with the right technology solutions to effectively execute business strategies is imperative for supplementing organizational strengths. To learn more, contact the Medical Tourism Association® or Health Flights Solutions at info@healthflightssolutions.com

About the Author

Author

Anuja Agrawal is CEO of Health Flights Technologies, the premier provider of an end-to-end, integrated services and technology for the medical tourism, wellness and healthcare industries. She has 28 years of experience in the information technology and consulting industries.


Most recently, she was CEO of a consulting firm providing high- level consulting services, such as strategic planning, business process evaluation and improvement, customer relationship management, business intelligence, and strategies for enabling and integrating technologies, to large financial institutions.