Since the time of Roman Britain, when patients travelled to the Hot Water Springs in the hope of curing their diseases, medical tourism has grown in scale with high quality treatments and cost-effective care packages available. Healthcare providers are now moving to the next level in medical tourism and international patient management. The objective now is to gain patients’ trust and satisfaction by focusing on quality and safety.
In this scenario, meeting the changing expectations of global medical tourists is as important as providing care with good standards and procedures. Hospitals and care professionals need to get accredited because this is likely to become a requirement. Creating high quality and cost-effective medical care at all stages is the key challenge healthcare organisations need to concentrate on.
Medical tourism industry has been growing with a double digit CAGR in Asia and is expected to reach US$8.5 billion by 2013. Medical tourism contributed nine percent of global GDP (more than US$6 trillion) and accounted for 255 million jobs in 2011. Medical tourism industry—with organised structures and standards, certification of hospitals in addition to accreditation and better defined quality with improved communication—is expected to grow rapidly and have a significant impact on patients and service providers.
The cover story of this issue, by Claudia Mika, Angeliki Katsapi and Hashem Al-Fadel from Temos International GmbH, talks about the essential quality criteria and patient satisfaction factors for international patients. It also explains international patient care / service cycle and phases involved in international patient management.
In other articles, K Ganapathy, President, Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation, India talks about challenges involved in incorporating digital health into the healthcare delivery system to achieve the necessary radical transformation; Sir John Oldham, National Clinical Lead for Quality and Productivity, UK talks about the challenge and the technological opportunity involved with multiple long term conditions; Robert Junk and Tobias Gilk from RAD-Planning, USA, talk about radiology facility design standards.