Travel Specialists Agree to Share Best Practices, Provider Information at Medical Tourism Congress

Health and travel professionals from across the globe will share best practices and standards within the medical tourism industry with consumers, according to an agreement reached at the 6th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress.

Palm Beach Gardens, FL, November 23, 2013 --( Health, travel and tourism affiliated professionals from around the world will collaboratively share best practices and standards within the medical tourism industry with consumers looking to make important healthcare purchases, according to an agreement reached at the 6th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, which concluded Nov. 6, 2013, in Las Vegas.

The signed declaration, reached at the Medical Tourism Facilitator Forum, included a formal vow to support ethical practices and standards; patient rights and transparency in quality, pricing and fees; patient safety and quality; choice focused on quality and outcomes and not fees; and value-based options for healthcare consumers. Participants in the roundtable discussion, inspired by the Medical Tourism Association®, called for a follow-up session at a Medical Tourism Facilitator Forum, Sept. 21-24, 2014, at the 7th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, in Washington, D.C.

“Higher costs don’t always equate to quality healthcare,” said Renée-Marie Stephano, president of the Medical Tourism Association®. “Expensive healthcare can sometimes be attributed to unnecessary services or inefficient procedures and treatments. How then can even the most astute healthcare shopper find trusted information related to pricing, quality, and providers? Mindful collaboration – like this -- among medical tourism facilitators is a small step, but the first of many toward making transparent data available and, as a result, value easier for international healthcare shoppers to locate.”

The facilitator announcement will build upon the recent launch of the nonprofit International Healthcare Research Center, which promotes and provides transparency and improves global healthcare quality, population health management, expanded access to care and the consumer healthcare experience in the medical tourism, international healthcare and health insurance marketplaces.

Medical tourism facilitators, those charged with navigating a patient through the process of securing and achieving quality and affordable treatments and procedures either internationally or domestically, are entering the healthcare travel industry at alarming rates that, if not monitored through standards and best-practices, threaten to strangle the very lifeblood the profession provides, said Stephano.

“Online resources have become a good starting point to learn about and compare healthcare providers in a patient’s community or abroad,” said Stephano, who recently hosted some 2,200 delegates – hospital administrators, physicians and clinicians, employers, insurance executive, government policymakers and travel and tourism entities at the 6th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, in Las Vegas. “But, despite the growing amount of information now made public from federal and state agencies, more work is needed to make high-value care easier for both consumers and medical tourism facilitators to identify. When trusted and verifiable information is readily available, only then can a patient ask the questions of a medical tourism facilitator that will help them to make better decisions about their care.”

The Medical Tourism Association® is the first membership-based international nonprofit trade association for the medical tourism and healthcare industry made up of top international hospitals, healthcare providers, medical travel facilitators, insurance companies, and other affiliates committed to promoting the highest level of quality healthcare to patients in a global environment.
Medical Tourism Association
Joseph Harkins
1.561.791.2000, ext. 803