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Posted: March 24, 2010

Health care really goes global with medical tourism

The surgery should be top-notch, whether in Denver or Singapore

Triche Guenin

MedVoy, a global medical tourism company based in Denver, is one of the first three companies in the world to be certified by the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) as a Medical Tourism Facilitator.

Medical Tourism is a growing industry which recognizes that manpower shortages, the need to leverage care, different health care delivery models, an expanding global market and utilization of new information technologies are enabling a shift of power to the consumer without the need of a medical professional playing middleman.

 Essentially, this means that people from around the world can request medical procedures be done in foreign locations. Medical Tourism Facilitators are the intermediaries that can make it happen. They are the ones that coordinate the medical care of patients traveling from one country to another. They provide health care consumers with the information/services they need to access affordable, high quality health care procedures internationally.

The MTA is an international non-profit association made up of the top international hospitals, health care providers, medical travel facilitators, insurance companies and others with the common goal of promoting the highest level of quality health care to patients in a global environment. Their certification process is based on standards for best practices for medical procedures.

The goal is to encourage international "transparency" in the services offered to patients, regardless of where they are from or where the services are offered. For example, a US citizen can expect to receive the same quality of care with the same positive outcomes whether undergoing a procedure in Geneva or in Singapore.

Raj Joseph and Dr. Arlen Meyers co-founded MedVoy when they met at the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, where Dr Meyers was an advisor to Raj. Raj wrote and presented a business plan for a medical tourism model, which the university recognized as the best international business plan.

 His concept was born out of a personal experience involving an emergency evacuation, three countries, a nurse and a doctor, he and his parents, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. All this, and sadly, his father did not survive.

The whole experience caused him to reflect on how he could do something towards helping other patients/families so they would not have to endure the same hardships he'd gone through. After a thorough and careful study of the marketplace, MedVoy was established to help patients shop for affordable, high quality, accredited health care worldwide.

MedVoy connects patients with healthcare providers through a user-friendly online platform and assists patients in making arrangements with hospitals and care facilities. According to Dr. Meyers, "Health care, like everything else, has gone global. Medvoy helps patients find quality, affordable care throughout the US and the world from providers they can trust."

MedVoy is one of the first three organizations to receive MTA certification. This international recognition provided a construct from "which to put processes and procedures in place, but also an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment towards patient safety and positive outcomes" says Raj, CEO of MedVoy. According to him the benefits of the certification include:

• Reducing the potential for logistical errors and medical problems for patients
• Increasing the chances of long-term positive patient outcomes
• Ensuring that procedures are in place to specifically help patients with cultural, religious, or other requirements when traveling for medical care
• Providing patients with a specialized area of expertise.

MedVoy was founded on the principle of providing customers with a premier consumer driven health care experience by connecting them with a choice of domestic/international service providers (e.g. hospitals, doctors, dentists, and wellness practitioners).

Raj stated " All of our customers return from medical treatments abroad with surprise - a pleasant surprise - on the quality of the facilities and the professionalism of all the medical staffs that go beyond anyone's expectations."

As in any new industry, growth opportunities abound. Other medical tourism trends to watch for include:
• global healthcare information exchanges
• redefinition of professionalism and ethics
• healthcare insurance products designed to empower patients
• changes in the global healthcare workforce
• growth of programs offering MBA's in medical tourism
• electronic markets offering unused healthcare capacity

So, what kind of implications does that have for you and your organizations? Think more jobs in global health care, a changing model for physician-patient interaction and new challenges in the legal, socioeconomic, regulatory, reimbursement, and professionalism arenas.

To learn more about Medvoy, a Denver based Medical Tourism Facilitator company, visit or contact 1-800-661-2126.

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Triche Guenin is President of Partners Through Change, Inc., a process improvement firm that helps organizations become more efficient/effective in their day-to-day operations. She can be reached at 303-777-9680 or



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Readers Respond

Maria Todd is correct. There are several accreditation organizations,the young medical tourism industry has spawned the expected conflict between trade associations vying for attention of members, the fee was $2500 and we submitted a lengthy application outlining our business and business processes. That said, as someone who has participated in the fomation and growth of professional accreditation organizations, I would make the following points: 1. Accreditation processes for new organization are difficult to develop, expensive and controversial. I admire the efforts of those trying to develop and implement professional standards, including Maria Todd. She may not agree with the MTA or its process, but it is a start. Our participation in the MTA process helped us to define and refine our own policies and procedures, compare business benchmarks with others in the field and network with others striving to improve the standards of the industry. 2. As the medical tourism industry matures, there will be an evolution of standards and accreditation that hopefully will be increasing stringent to protect the public, the ultimate beneficiary of accreditation. 3. As exemplified by other well know accrediation organizations, simply being accredited or board certified or a member of a professional trade association does not guarantee quality. Ultimately, that decision is made by the customer or patient. The industry and others are working on empowering patients by providing them with quality, cost and value transparency. Those of us who see medical tourism as another way to provide potential patients with healthcare options at an affordable cost, rather than a business venture focused on profit, will continue to work on improving the scope and validity of the certification process. I think it is better to get involved in a process that might, in some ways be flawed or incomplete versus standing on the sidelines waiting for perfection. By Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA on 2010 04 12
I would also mention that few recognize the Medical Tourism Association as the authority on medical tourism process and certification. I am sure that the author was not aware that the respect for such that organization continues to diminish to those who are informed. There are many medical tourism facilitators in Denver, many with proven track records and years of experience. They have chosen not to acknowledge the MTA or pay the $2500 fee to become "certified" by this organization. Certification takes 17 sheets of paper and can be filled in by someone who has never facilitated a single case. If one wishes to "re-certify" according to last inquiry, one simply pays the $2500 again. At last inquiry, there was no exam or demonstration of skill sets, experience or other vetting process. By todd on 2010 03 29
I would offer a contrary view regarding this particular issue of medical tourism. With all the healthcare and clinical expertise in Denver, it is frustrating that a Colorado business is sending people out of the country for medical care. That is certainly not helping to grow our economy nor necessarily in the best interests of the patients being directed out of the country. By Steven Summer on 2010 03 24
Perhaps this will become the answer to 'change', and the ever rising costs of health care in America. What better way to drive down costs, then to create GLOBAL 'competition'. I already know of dozens of people who have been treated at foreign hospitals because the cost was a 10th of what it cost in the States for the same procedure. MANY more Americans would be going overseas for medical help if they simply knew how. This type of business/company takes away their fear and shows them how! So long as we can keep 'politics' and GREED out of the picture, this is such a fantastic opportunity on so many levels. By Annie on 2010 03 24

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