The Medical Tourism Association in the News
So you have heard of the Medical Tourism Association? You must have because you're reading our magazine. What is the Medical Tourism Association what does it do and what are its goals? What are the projects the MTA is working on? Read on. This new column MTA &ndash Current Projects will update you each month on what the MTA is doing and what projects it is working on.
Medical Tourism Association is an international non-profit organization that serves international healthcare providers and medical travel facilitators in the global healthcare industry. Our membership consists of International Hospitals Clinics Healthcare Providers Medical & Educational Universities Insurance Companies Healthcare Companies Medical Travel Facilitators and affiliated industries and professionals.
We have one goal in mind and that is to promote the highest level of quality of care for patients traveling from one country to another for medical care. Why have we chosen the name Medical Tourism Association as opposed to some other name that does not have the word &ldquotourism&rdquo in it? It's a simple matter of numbers really. Try searching online through Google or Yahoo for information about global healthcare or medical travel and you will find that the most common term to describe the practice of patients traveling from one country to another for medical care is &ldquoMedical Tourism.
It is not called Global Healthcare and in fact almost every major hospital every book on the subject and all the media and press all refer to it as Medical Tourism. While we are in reality a Global Healthcare Association until the industry comes together and decides on a better name that will stick we are using what the most people will receive a benefit from.
Moreover there are many hospitals and healthcare professionals that embrace the name &ldquoMedical Tourism&rdquo and are true believers that patients can get enjoy some aspect of tourism while receiving medical treatment. This is particularly true for foreigners returning to their home country for care Europeans with six to eight weeks of &ldquoholiday&rdquo and for many others who plan to &ldquofreshen themselves up&rdquo on a trip somewhere exotic.
The Medical Tourism Association has been busy traveling to numerous countries to introduce the MTA and its mission and in turn obtaining support from hospitals and governments around the world. In October the MTA visited India and did site inspections of several leading Indian Hospitals.
In November MTA visited Taiwan and the Philippines and South Korea in December. We will report on each of these countries within our magazine. We have also visited Costa Rica and this winter and spring we will visit Malaysia Thailand Singapore China and the United Arab Emirates. Our goal is to obtain a slid membership from around the world with representation from every major country promoting medical tourism.
What is the Medical Tourism Association's Goals?
&bull To further the efficient effective and safe utilization of international hospitals and facilities for use by patients insurance carriers and employers from the United States Canada Europe and internationally.&bull To help establish identify or publish quality measures standards of operation and industry data designed t foster adoption of industry standards of practice and greater public understanding of the medical tourism industry.
To enhance the reputation of medical tourism by promoting greater distribution and understanding of the industry and its participants through transparency.&bull To enhance communications between foreign providers insurance companies primary care physicians and after-care physicians to promote patient safety.
To assist the members with understanding the legal issues involved in medical tourism.&bull To assist the members in marketing themselves to foreign patients.&bull To assist the members in networking and find new partners and business relationships.
Current Projects of the Medical Tourism Association
Quality of Care Project
Changing Global Health Care Worldwide
Probably the most important project that the Medical Tourism Association is working on today is the Quality of Care Project. One of the biggest obstacles to the Medical Tourism Industry growing is that no one in the world can compare international hospitals in terms of quality of care or outcomes because every hospital has their own methodology on how to obtain that information and different quality indicators.
Some organizations in the Medical Tourism Industry are gathering questionnaires from hospitals and their statistical information on outcomes and quality of care and plan on publishing it on their websites. What they don't realize is this information can tend to be misleading to the public.Without patients being able to compare hospitals from around the world under the same standards and methodology the medical tourism industry will not see explosive growth and many insurance companies and employers from around the world will be hesitant to move forward with medical tourism.
The Medical Tourism Association's Quality of Care Project will provide a major solution and change global health care worldwide. When we complete our project patients employers and insurance companies from around the world will be much more confident on traveling overseas for healthcare and surgery.&bull Creating a Single Methodology for how hospitals report quality indicators and outcomes.&bull Creating Transparency in the industry for outcomes and quality indicators.
Transparent Information published on MTA Website. &bull Streamlining Global Healthcare & Increasing Patient flow Internationally.&bull Countries Anticipated Participation: Dubai Taiwan India Singapore Malaysia Thailand Costa Rica Philippines South Korea.&bull Insurance Companies and Employers and Individual Consumers/Customers will only wish to participate with hospitals that participate in the Quality of Care Project.&bull Provides confidence that participating providers offer the highest quality of care and great surgical outcomes.
The MTA has formed a legal committee to analyze and issue reports and presentations to its members on legal issues affecting medical tourism companies Hospitals and Healthcare Companies transacting business in medical tourism. This committee will be examining patient the concepts of waivers disclosures and legal contracts to be able to protect its members from litigation.
The MTA's advisory board is made up of some of the top Lawyers addressing Medical Tourism issues around the world. The MTA plans on holding several legal workshops in 2008 for international hospitals and medical tourism companies.
Medical Tourism Company Committee
Many of our members companies both hospitals and more importantly Medical Tourism Companies/Facilitators (companies which assist patients with choosing a hospital and doctor and coordinate care) have expressed a strong desire to have minimum standards or guidelines for Medical Tourism Companies/ Facilitators. This is very important as negative stories are already starting to emerge in regards to certain medical tourism companies that are sending patients to unqualified doctors.
The MTA will be forming a committee made up of Member Companies that are Medical Tourism Companies as well as International Hospitals to discuss creating some minimum guidelines for medical tourism companies and to do market research in this area. This project came about by every single Medical Tourism Company Member requesting we address this very important issue. The reputation of the industry hangs in the balance of high quality care and qualified service providers and facilitators.
Media / Press
The MTA has worked hard to promote medical tourism and the Medical Tourism Association in International Media and Press. We have had great success in being covered in Modern Healthcare National Public Radio (NPR) Miami Herald Rough Notes (US Insurance periodical) Sun Sentinel National Underwriter and many other periodicals. Our Executive Team has been mentioned regarding medical tourism in Time Magazine Newsweek NY Times International Herald Tribune and many others.We strive to promote our members in the media and press.
Medical Tourism Magazine
The Medical Tourism Magazine is a monthly publication that is free of charge and is available in both print format and also available online each month. It is distributed to thousands of the following:&bull US and UK Insurance Companies&bull Healthcare companies&bull Medical Tourism Companies&bull Direct to Patients&bull International Hospitals&bull Global Health Care Companies &bull Doctors&bull Media/PressThe Medical Tourism Magazine covers all the issues facing medical tourism patients hospitals and facilitators today.
It addressed insurance and economic issues that are beneficial to all. Issues addressed include: Selecting an International Hospital Cost Savings Quality of Care Issues Legal Issues and more with a country specific focus each month. The magazine raises awareness of the Medical Tourism Industry throughout the world.
MTA Marketing Assistance Programs
The Medical Tourism Association has many initiatives to help members effectively and efficiently market them for medical tourism. First and foremost MTA provides networking opportunities with introductions to Insurance Companies and Healthcare Companies looking to outsource patient surgeries Media/Press Contacts Tie-Ins with Doctors wishing to refer patients overseas.
MTA refers patient inquiries to its members. The MTA can also provide guidance on marketing campaigns and raising awareness of your organization in the international marketplace through:&bull Assistance in Creating &ldquoBrand Name&rdquo recognition of your organization.&bull Free Listing on Medical Tourism Association Website &ndash Significant Traffic/Volume.&bull Identification of potential customers and clients.
Introductions to large US and UK Employers and Insurance Companies.&bull Special Reports & Access to Information.&bull Access to special marketing lists.In 2008 the MTA will sponsor workshops to address these issues and more. The MTA is focusing on networking and is constantly being contacted by organizations and insurers looking for partners in the medical tourism industry. The MTA currently passes along all these opportunities to its members.
Medical Tourism Documentary
The Medical Tourism Association is producing a documentary with the assistance of those in the industry on Medical Tourism called &ldquoAngels Overseas.&rdquo This documentary is meant to create awareness of the industry and to show the high quality of care at international hospitals. In addition to solving the health problems of patients from the US Europe and Canada in obtaining affordable healthcare the documentary will address the experience and surgical expertise of the physicians addressing the pros and cons of medical tourism.