23 Med­i­cal Tourism Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion - Added Value Or Waste Of Money?

Added Value Or Waste Of Money?

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - By An­ge­liki Kat­sapi. About the au­thor: Ms An­ge­liki Kat­sapi is an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­tive cer­ti­fied au­di­tor for qual­ity and safety man­age­ment sys­tems in health­care and med­i­cal tourism ser­vices. She is an asses­sor for Te­mos In­ter­na­tional and the Man­ag­ing Dir

The med­i­cal tourism and tourism medicine mar­ket is an in­creas­ing but also chal­leng­ing mar­ket. Pa­tients have par­tic­u­lar needs when un­der­go­ing treat­ment abroad. Pre-, on-site- and post-treat­ment take place in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and need to be man­aged to as­sure high qual­ity and cost-ef­fec­tive med­i­cal care dur­ing all phases of the treat­ment process.

The med­i­cal ser­vice struc­ture and the op­er­a­tional and qual­ity lev­els dif­fer among coun­tries de­pend­ing on each coun­try's liv­ing stan­dards, cur­rent reg­u­la­tory, fi­nan­cial and or­gan­i­sa­tional con­di­tions. More­over, qual­ity is al­ways rel­a­tive due to the in­di­vid­ual per­cep­tion and cul­ture and also due to the sci­en­tific or pro­fes­sional stan­dards that are im­ple­mented.

Fur­ther­more, dif­fi­cul­ties in in­ter­na­tional pa­tient man­age­ment arise as a re­sult of cul­tural dif­fer­ences, lan­guage bar­ri­ers but also le­gal is­sues, dif­fer­ent un­der­stand­ing of medicine or an in­ter­rup­tion of cross-bor­der pro­ce­dures, for ex­am­ple, in the frame of the pro­vi­sion of reli­able in­for­ma­tion and doc­u­men­ta­tion in the pre-treat­ment stage.

The pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures as­so­ci­ated with the treat­ment of in­ter­na­tional pa­tients need to be de­fined, im­ple­mented and re­alised in the frame of the health­care fa­cil­ity's To­tal Qual­ity Man­age­ment Sys­tem (TQMS).

Gen­eral hospi­tal ac­cred­i­ta­tion sys­tems are an ex­cel­lent ba­sis for the fa­cil­ity's qual­ity man­age­ment but do not cover the qual­ity cri­te­ria and re­spec­tive man­age­ment needed to map the in­ter­na­tional pa­tient care cy­cle and as­so­ci­ated pro­cesses e.g. be­fore and af­ter the treat­ment on­site. Proper man­age­ment of in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal tourist ser­vices as de­manded by spe­cialised med­i­cal tourism cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams can bridge the gap be­tween the in­ter­na­tional pa­tients' de­mands and the hospi­tal's re­quire­ments for the pro­vi­sion of these ser­vices. At the end both sides will ben­e­fit by achiev­ing their ob­jec­tives.

The Pan-African Health Tourism Congress is sched­uled to take place from 7-9 June at the Um­folozi Ho­tel Casino Con­ven­tion Re­sort, Em­pan­geni, KwaZulu-Na­tal. Aside from act­ing as cat­a­lysts for Health Tourism de­vel­op­ment while ad­dress­ing ‘brain re­gain' amongst other im­por­tant is­sues, the idea for the Pan-African Health Tourism Congress was to serve as a mo­ti­va­tor and cat­a­lyst:

• For con­ti­nent-wide Health Tourism de­vel­op­ment

• To prompt African gov­ern­ments to im­prove the qual­ity of ser­vices at pub­lic sec­tor fa­cil­i­ties

• To help in­cen­tivise health sec­tor pro­fes­sion­als of the African di­as­pora to re­turn home and cap­i­talise on the op­por­tu­ni­ties open­ing up with the de­vel­op­ment of Health Tourism.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit the PAHTC2017 web­site at www.panafrican­health­tourism­congress.com, or con­tact Ash­ley San­tos on +27 (0)11 436 9014, or email her at ash­ley@mc­group.co.za. Join the con­ver­sa­tion on Twit­ter @PAHTC2017

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