Author: Medical Tourism Magazine
When most Americans think about medical tourism, they envision international patients traveling to countries around the world to receive the best healthcare available, particularly related to medical and surgical innovation. Medical tourism is growing and, although some Americans still have reservations about hopping on a plane to receive medical treatment on another continent, many are now open to the prospect of traveling across state lines to satisfy healthcare needs.
The rise of domestic medical tourism stems from employers working with distant healthcare providers to offer pre-negotiated, less expensive package deals to employees that often include a reduced price for procedures and necessary travel fare. Research suggests that on average, employers can cut healthcare costs by 20-40 percent by offering out-of-state coverage, an appealing option for both large and small companies.
Some of the most notable companies to adopt these types of policies include Lowes, Walmart, The Boeing Co., and PepsiCo. The benefit to employers is apparent, but what does this mean for healthcare providers? Not only is domestic medical tourism inciting competition between local, smaller providers and larger institutions, the benefits strategy is also increasing the demand for quality healthcare and a satisfying overall patient experience.
How Can Medical Practices Embrace this Change?
Providers in the United States that cannot adapt to implications of the Affordable Care Act will eventually fail. So, how can they evolve and succeed? The answer lies in a new approach to healthcare provision known as Patient Experience Management (PXM), and the implementation in medical operations across the United States has yielded considerable success for a variety of practitioners. PXM’s foundation
Research suggests that on average, employers can cut healthcare costs by 20-40 percent by offering out-of-state coverage.
appeals to both domestic and international medical tourism models, involving direct management of a patient’s healthcare questions, procedural education, travel logistics, and follow-up care. So, what is Patient Experience Management exactly?
Patient Experience Management
PXM is a patient-centric approach to healthcare. Medical practices that utilize the PXM model immediately become more appealing to patients by improving their overall experience. Internally, the PXM model also increases the practice’s patient retention, conversion rates and, consequently, revenue. PXM is expected to continue to help medical providers thrive in the evolving healthcare landscape and provide a launching pad for the sustainable success of medical tourism in the United States.
The Medical Concierge
The primary component of the PXM model that appeals to healthcare travelers is the medical concierge service. An appropriate number of medical concierge representatives are staffed to serve as the patients’ touch point throughout their entire treatment process. From initial point of contact, the medical concierge makes prospective patients feel comfortable by answering any questions they might have, while also educating them and evaluating their candidacy for treatment.
These highly trained individuals are well-versed in medical terminology and have a thorough understanding of their dedicated medical specialty. After a potential patient decides to travel and be treated, the medical concierge service helps to take stress off the patient’s shoulders. From helping the patient find a hotel room to booking a flight, the medical concierge is much more than an administrator.
The medical concierge provides relief to the patient and aids the practice’s administrative and medical staff. Because this isn’t the typical healthcare experience, many patients report that they feel as if they have just gone on a sort of healthcare vacation. Without the stress of all the last-minute details associated with travel and the procedure, patients can focus on feeling better, faster.
The medical concierge alleviates the pressure felt by many patients to understand every detail of their procedure. Today’s patients have more educational resources available to them than ever before and, in many cases, they are not necessarily satisfied with the status quo. Often, they take finding the best care options available upon themselves. Consequently, informed patients have more questions and concerns about their care.
With PXM, the patient never feels rushed and questions are answered thoroughly. The PXM medical concierge staff provides a high level of transparency and availability, giving patients clear expectations and attentive care, thereby raising overall patient satisfaction and retention rates. This is particularly helpful in the case of newer, more innovative treatments that patients and their primary care physician might not be familiar with. An extra level of expertise will help them determine what is really best.
As a support mechanism for the streamlined patient experience, the PXM model plugs in a technology package complete with customer relationship management software, voice over IP with recorded calls, call-tracking software and automated email generation tailored to a practice’s specific needs.
Providing patients with an exceptional experience leads to increased retention rates and an overall improved process. Prospective patients are no longer going to settle for the typical healthcare environment. The PXM model raises the bar for patient care while offering an ideal environment for providers and patients alike.
PXM in Action
For Lois Samuels, a former school teacher from Arizona, traveling to treat her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was something she had to carefully consider. She knew that her general practitioner and pulmonologist did not offer the stem cell therapy she desired. She also knew that the best place for her to receive this form of treatment was at a clinic in Tampa, Fla., more than 1,000 miles away. For Samuels, and most people with COPD, traveling in the oxygendeficient environment of an airborne plane can be extremely uncomfortable and even scary.
Taking all of these factors into account, Samuels had a tough decision to make. Like most people of the 21st century, she started her computer and researched. She checked the stem cell provider’s website to make sure this was the right decision and subsequently called their office. This is where PXM comes in. A medical concierge representative answered Samuels’ call, and listened while Samuels explained her situation. Once the concierge had gone through the entire treatment process in detail, he even took the extra step to coordinate Samuels’ traveling needs.
This personal interest in Samuels’ situation cemented her decision to book a flight to Florida. Not only did this individual educate Samuels on her upcoming treatment and help her plan her trip, he also helped arrange the gathering of previous test results and necessary paperwork for the clinic’s administrator. Samuels arrived in Tampa under considerably less stress than someone trying to handle all of the logistics alone.
This unique attention to patient care did not go unnoticed. As her dedicated medical concierge helped her throughout her entire treatment process, Samuels realized that this wasn’t a typical healthcare experience. She left Florida feeling taken care of from a medical and personal standpoint.
A core principle of healthcare is patient trust. By offering patients a better overall experience, a practice gains instant credibility and respect. As healthcare reform sweeps the nation, and domestic medical tourism continues to grow, incentives like the PXM model will be a driving factor for patient travel. As healthcare institutions become part of more social ranking systems, such as Healthgrades.com or RateMDs.com, this trend will only gain traction, highlighting the importance of a heightened interest and attention to personalized patient care.
Not only does the PXM model cater to patients, it also improves the day-to-day functions of medical practices. The tailored technology package allows practices to operate more efficiently, and gives the staff insight into which leads are converting. This also enhances the physician-patient relationship. In the instance of a general practitioner referring to a specialist, the medical concierge acts as a physician liaison and point person updating the general practitioner of the patient’s treatment progress. When both sets of practitioners are fully informed, the patient is more likely to receive comprehensive care.
Comprehensive care is what people are looking for, and whether patients know it or not, healthcare reform coupled with the rise of medical tourism has led individuals to seek institutions that use the PXM model. The types of medical practices that adopt PXM policies will continue to thrive, while those that do not will be less likely to attract patients and referrals. The new patient care model (PXM) offers a solution for patients looking for the best form of healthcare available, while giving practitioners the foundation for long-term sustainable success.
About the Author
At Lung Institute, we are changing the lives of hundreds of Americans across the United States through the innovative technology of regenerative medicine. As the global leader of stem cell therapies for chronic obstructive disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and pulmonary fibrosis, we are committed to providing patients a more effective way to address lung disease and subsequently improve quality of life. Our physicians, through their designated practices, have gained worldwide recognition for the successful application of revolutionary minimally invasive stem cell therapies. With more than a century of combined medical experience, our doctors have established a patient experience designed with the highest concern for patient safety and quality of care. At our state-of-the-art facilities, we deploy stem cell transplants utilizing autologous stem cells, natural growth factors, gene therapy, and platelet-rich plasma to promote the repair and regeneration of damaged lung tissue. Our minimally invasive, outpatient stem cell transplant procedures improve quality of life and help patients breathe easier. Visit our website at LungInstitute.com or call us today at 1-855-469-5864 for more information.