Hospital certification organisation, TEMOS, in international expansion

 

Earlier this month, health tourism was the main topic of programme on a major German television channel. The presenter followed health tourists from Germany and USA searching for treatment in Bangkok, Thailand. The documentary dealt with questions about legal aspects of health tourism, quality of care and patient safety. The camera crew followed a TEMOS assessors’ team during its certification visit at the Bangkok Hospital Medical Center.

Telemedicine for the Mobile Society (TEMOS), the network based in Germany that certifies hospitals for quality, is a subsidiary company of German Aerospace Centre (owned by the German Government). It has already certified 31 facilities in South-east Asia, Eastern and South Europe. The TEMOS certification system and the respective standards were established in 2006 as the result of problems insurance companies worldwide were facing with respect to the management of international patient cases.

TEMOS has no interest in the USA or Canada, but is focusing expansion plans on countries with a high number of medical tourists from Europe in general and Germany in particular. Mainly this will be South/East Europe and Asian countries, especially India, Indonesia, China, and Korea.

The company is going to release a new product ' TEMOS Health Tourism' for TEMOS -certified hospitals in the third quarter of 2009. Certified hospitals will get free access to tele-lectures, e-courses and relevant partners from research, insurance and assistance institutions from Germany and other European countries. TEMOS will also offer consultancy for implementing second opinion treatments in hospitals. TEMOS is working with German doctors, travel agencies and medical tourism agencies to encourage them to direct health tourists to TEMOS certified hospitals.

The TEMOS Quality System is different from other certification   or accreditation systems on the market. Applicants for certification have to prove that they are able to treat international patients on a high quality level. Most of the hospitals applying already have a national or an international accreditation. Even before the process begins they must have a quality system in place, be interested in medical and non-medical aspects of patient care and international patients or intend to do so in the near future. The evaluation begins with a detailed self-evaluation form, which collects data about staff, infrastructure, communication, medical disciplines, quality management and more. This is followed by on-site evaluation visit lasting two to three days; depending on the size and complexity of the respective facility All TEMOS assessors are medical doctors with international experience in medicine and quality in medical care worldwide. Within eight weeks after the audit, the applying facility gets a comprehensive individual report with recommendations on how to optimize its services. Once any outstanding items are resolved, the hospital is presented with the certificate. The first re-certification is due 3 years after certification has been granted. It will again include an on-site evaluation visit and a detailed report afterwards.

TEMOS has developed special quality criteria, which partner hospitals and clinics in the TEMOS network have to fulfill. These criteria are based on the needs of tourists in foreign countries and have been developed in cooperation with leading assistance companies and experts in travel medicine.

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