Five key themes for adopting best practice

 

The Medical Travel Commission™ recognizes hospitals for service excellence to patients traveling across borders for their care.  The Certification Program and criteria have been established through an extensive evaluation of the needs of patients, providers and facilitators from around the world.  During the development and vetting of the MTC Certification Program several premier hospitals granted MTC access to their International Patient Programs and demonstrated what extraordinary support and resources to international patients looks like.

It is not surprising that these hospitals exhibit a consistency in their “Best Practices”. While the workflows might vary, the core practices are developed in response to the unique needs of these international patients and their companions.  During our research we have found that five major themes run through the services offered by the “Best of the Best”. These best practices fall into five distinct categories: communication, customer service, provider interaction, quality care, and exchange of medical information.

The five themes for best practice in international patient programs

Some of the Best Practices we have discovered during our work have been included below:

Category: Communication

  •     Google Translate integrated on every page of the program web site
  •     Library of medical information accessible on web site
  •     Interactive online maps of the facility with printable directions
  •     Culturally sensitive communication methods
  •     Automated enquiry tracking reports
  •     Accommodation for hearing and visually impaired patients
  •     Patient satisfaction survey tool specific to medical travel patients

Category:  Customer service

  •     Culture and customs orientation program for patients and families
  •     Dedicated patient advocate, dedicated translator
  •     Extensive staff training programs
  •     Transfer and transportation services
  •     Complete cost estimates and routine meetings with financial advisor
  •     Spiritual care and religious accommodations
  •     Meals available to meet culture and customs
  1.         separate kitchens
  2.         ability to bring meals in

Category: Physician interaction

  •     Pre-travel meetings between patient and providers
  1.         Skype or web meetings
  2.         establishment of clear expectations
  •     Detailed care plans
  •     Availability of important credential, education and volume data
  •     Routine team meetings
  1.         includes provider, patient and family
  •     Follow-up contact post-discharge
  1.         detailed exchange with home providers

Category: Quality care

  •     Active quality accreditations
  •     Treatment and procedure consents reviewed in patient language
  •     Interdisciplinary team meetings
  1.         all services, caregivers, patient and family
  •     Pain management
  •     Coordination of care with home providers
  •     Coordination of continuing medication supply
  •     Coordination of durable medical equipment

 
Category: Medical information exchange

  •     Secure communications and data exchange
  •     Detailed information review for acceptance/appropriateness
  •     Facilitation of provider interaction, pre, during and after
  •     Continuity of care documentation during transitions
  •     Team discharge conference
  •     Clearly documented discharge instructions
  •     Referrals to certified medical transcriptionists
  •     Arrangements for follow up care

Best practices delivers competitive advantage

So what is the significance of a hospital demonstrating a dedication to Best Practices?  Hospitals that demonstrate a commitment to service excellence through the implementation of Best Practices help to differentiate themselves by creating favorable impressions, developing loyalty and trust, and ultimately improving their patient outcomes. Hospitals that add Best Practices for extraordinary customer service to their already outstanding clinical care abilities will shine above the rest and gain international credibility.  Good healthcare outcomes and happy, satisfied patients should be a global goal.

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