Medical tourism is a type of alternative tourism. The term “medical tourism” is widely defined for the provision of cost-competitive private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry for patients who need surgical and other forms of specialized treatment, outside their country. In the context of medical tourism, both medical tourists and ordinary tourists, who suffer from chronic diseases, have the chance to be provided with medical care by well-organized healthcare facilities while enjoying hospitality by high level hospitality premises making in this way an utmost satisfactory experience in selected destinations.
A big industry has been set up in recent years at the international level. Professionals from different service sectors are involved or vindicate a big part by this industry.
A crucial point for the provision of all appropriate services, so as packages to be created to provide affordability and high quality to meet the health and other supportive needs of medical tourists/international patients, is the interconnection and establishment of a framework for the cooperation among all involved parties and providers.
A medical tourism agent (medical tourism facilitator), is an organization or a company, which seeks to bring together prospective medical tourists with their service providers, such as a hospital or a clinic. The Facilitators (the companies) are not only marketing organizations, but operate as quality evaluators, create packages (medical and travel services), and organize medical advice sessions and assessment of patient needs before the trip (pre-treatment stage), the actual medical travel (on site - treatment stage) and the management of post-treatment follow up process (discharge and post treatment stage).
The need for professional experts in the Medical Tourism Market
Medical Tourism Coordinator/ the expert of a Facilitator company, is a modern profession, necessary for the formation and development of the medical and health tourism niche market with high expectations. Their contribution is rather critical in the following issues:
- Serving as liaison and mediator between patients and healthcare providers and tourism enterprises
- Formulating the product of health/ medical tourism and developing the appropriate business plan for the particular segment
- Identifying the induction of potential risks and establishing cooperation with reliable healthcare providers
- Bringing up contractual agreements taking into consideration valid regulations and the currently applied legal frame
- Understanding the complex travel arrangements in combination to the complicated medical procedures
- Breakdown language and cultural barriers
- Making critical preparations linked to critical for the medical tourist’s life, incidents.
Learning objectives of the training program
The training program focuses on the following subjects and objectives:
- Definitions, terminology and international trends of health/medical tourism
- National strategies and countries’ best practices towards medical tourism
- Medical Tourism barriers and challenges
- International organizations – International market – Opinion makers
- Medical services ethical and legal principles- special issues in medical tourism
- Cross-border health care and quality
- Patients’ rights-international codes of practice
- International patients’ care cycle – Medical tourism ecosystem
- Involvement of intermediaries and facilitators
- Needs and management practices for health tourists/medical tourists, sensitive travelers and travelers with Special Needs
- Quality and safety assurances for the health/medical tourist
- Quality criteria and suitability of the healthcare and tourism services’ providers
- Certification and accreditation of healthcare facilities and medical tourism services
- Marketing concepts, Branding and Health Marketing
- The 7 Ps of Marketing Strategies for Promoting Medical Tourism
- Market entry strategies in medical tourism