Author: Charlie Rodriguez
Self-insured employers have been trying for a while to implement medical tourism into their plans as a way to reduce healthcare costs and still provide high quality healthcare to employees.
Many have had a difficult time implementing a successful medical tourism plan due to lack of a detailed knowledge, and employee engagement.
According to Lance Barnes at Indiana University Health: “I believe that the Global Patient Management System can help educate employees on the benefits of domestic medical tourism and what to expect so that they are prepared. Having a web portal the employees can use to easily select their hospital and physician and make travel arrangements (hotel selection, etc.) is a key component of any successful medical tourism offering,”
Health Flights Solutions, partnered with the Medical Tourism Association®, has offered a technology platform for medical tourist management since 2009 and they have now designed a model specifically for self-insured employers. The platform, Health Centers Plus, is already host to 100,000 members.
Health Flights Solutions has had success in reaching a broad range of employers through their partnership with HR consultant, Willis Towers Watson.
“What makes our program a success is our turn-key approach,” said Anuja Agrawal, CEO, Health Flights Solutions. “We create a customized program for each employer and focus on the key success factors such as the right provider network, procedures, and of course, employee engagement, ” she added.
A key aspect of creating this success is the interactive medium that was developed specifically for employee engagement. One of the biggest reasons for failure of a medical travel benefit is the lack of adoption, which in turn is due to the lack of employee engagement. This platform allows employees to view videos of the doctors and patient testimonials, explains how medical travel works, and provides information on destinations, hospitals, and procedures. By using this interactive platform, employees can be guided through the entire process from understanding medical travel to uploading medical records to finding the right destination overseas. And, as the system is HIPAA compliant, the employees do not need to be concerned about data privacy or security.
Health Centers Plus takes an in-depth look at the ins and outs of each employer, including:
- Healthcare cost analysis: What are the right procedures to implement in the medical travel program
- What is the employee make-up?
- What is the ideal provider network?
- Would a pharma plan provide beneficial?
- What employee incentives should be provided?
The program helps analyze the healthcare spending for the last 3-5 years in order to create a customized plan for the employer by selecting the procedures, and destinations. The Health Centers Plus network consists of some of the world’s leading hospitals and doctors and employers can select the destinations they like. Some choose destinations closer to the United States, while other select vacation destinations. Creating the right employee incentives is key to the success of the program. Waived deductibles and co pays, paid travel benefits, and even cash back are some of the incentives that can be included in the program. Benefits like these are a way to encourage employees to utilize the medical tourism program. It is a win-win for both the employer and the employee.
Continuity of Care: A Medical Tourism Must
One of the most highly discussed topics in medical tourism is continuity of care.
The Health Centers Plus platform not only manages the travel process and appointments, but it can also keep the local treating physician engaged in the entire process.
The system allows the physician to be involved in the care through videoconferences, uploading of medical records and review of the treatment plan. Once the patient returns, the local physician can get access to aftercare instructions, prescriptions and surgical records so they will know exactly how to proceed with the aftercare of the patient.
As self-insured companies look at ways to cut costs without compromising on care, they should consider adding medical travel to their benefit plan. A well-constructed plan with a detailed employee engagement plan can generate savings for both the employer and the employee. And, using a partner with significant experience and expertise can help significantly increase the chances of success of such a program.
Health Flights Solutions
Health Flights Solutions offers software that for the first time allows organizations involved in the medical tourism industry to present a true product or service that potential clients or employees can sink their teeth into. It allows hospitals and other organizations to constantly improve their processes, patient experience, outcomes and conversion of international patients through its robust management features and reporting.
In the past the medical tourism industry has run on excel, outlook, word and paper and pen-no other over $100 billion industry operates this way. Privacy violations are high and proper patient management procedures are low. Health Flights Solutions provides a trusted and secure online marketplace to manage all aspects of this industry. This software will allow large-scale growth of medical tourism by hospitals, employers and insurance companies, globally.