High quality care and patient safety must always be the top priorities of a good Hospital. Quality of care and standards vary from hospital to hospital and from destination to destination. Despite medical breakthroughs in healthcare standardizations and an ever-expanding knowledge base, providing high quality care is a challenge for each and every health care organization around the world. HealthCare providers in the developing nations are now competing with hospitals in developed nations for the medical tourism customer by providing state of the art facilities, comfort, standards and Health Care practices. Many Healthcare facilities still struggle to create the systems that achieve effective care, deliver the desired results, and reduce the risks associated.
As a medical tourist or medical traveler it is important to do your own research and due diligence about the Healthcare provider that you choose for your care. In the Healthcare industry there are several organizations that inspect, educate and guide the health care provider to maintain the high standards of patient care and safety. One of the best known symbols of this commitment is accreditation, a voluntary process that provides a universal standard of credibility for the health care provider.
Fundamentally, healthcare and hospital accreditation is about improving how care is delivered to patients and the quality of the care they receive. Accreditation has been defined as "A self-assessment and external peer assessment process used by health care organizations to accurately assess their level of performance in relation to established standards and to implement ways to continuously improve". Accreditation is one important component in patient safety.
JOINT COMMISION INTERNATIONAL
Joint Commission International (JCI), established in 1997 as The Joint Commission’s international arm, applies standards specifically developed for international hospital accreditation. JCI standards are developed with the input of experts from around the globe to assess and accredit health care organizations in more than 30 countries. JCI was created to meet the growing global demands for a standardized method of evaluating patient care and a demonstrated commitment to continuous quality improvement. JCI works in more than 80 countries to continuously improve safety and quality in the international community, working at both the health system at macro level as well as with individual health care organizations. JCI accreditation addresses many of the same clinical topics found in The Joint Commission’s standards for hospitals in the United States. JCI’s patient-centered standards are developed and reviewed by experts in various health fields across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.
The stated mission of The Joint Commission is: "To continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations."
The company updates its accreditation standards and expands patient safety goals on a yearly basis. It posts them on its website for all interested persons to review, making this information and process transparent to all stakeholders ranging from institutions, to practitioners, to patients and their advocates.
The purpose of The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals is to promote specific improvements in patient safety. The Goals highlight problematic areas in health care and describe evidence and expert-based solutions to these problems. Recognizing that sound system design is intrinsic to the delivery of safe, high quality health care, the Goals focus on system-wide solutions.
There are several other Hospital accreditations for different countries' Healthcare systems.
The Trent Accreditation Scheme (TAS) is a United Kingdom-based non-profit organisation formed with a mission to maintain and continually evaluate standards of quality, especially in health care delivery, through the surveying and accreditation of health care organisations, especially hospitals and clinics, both in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
Trent's basic mission resembles that of the USA's Joint Commission International, or JCI, and other major international healthcare accreditation groups, although there are some significant differences in the way the different groups work.
Apart from hospitals in the United Kingdom, Trent also surveys a large number of private sector hospitals in Hong Kong. Trent is also expanding into the Philippines and into Malta.
The Society for International Healthcare Accreditation (SOFIHA), a free-to-join group providing a forum for discussion and for the sharing of ideas and good practice by providers of international healthcare accreditation and users of the same. The primary role of this organization is to promote a safe hospital environment for patients.
The United Kingdom Accreditation Forum (UKAF) is an established network of accreditation organisations with the intention of sharing experience good practice and new ideas around the methodology for accreditation programmes, covering issues such as developing healthcare quality standards, implementation of standards within healthcare organisations, assessment by peer review and exploration of the peer review techniques to include the recruitment, training, monitoring and evaluation of peer reviewers and the mechanisms for awards of accredited status to organisations.
Accreditation should not be the only decision making factor in selecting a health care organization. Patients must take the time to make sure that their medical needs can be met by an organization. Patients should communicate directly with the hospital and with the physician or dentist that will be responsible for their care.
Accreditation Canada is a not-for-profit, independent organization accredited by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua). We provide national and international health care organizations with an external peer review process to assess and improve the services they provide to their patients and clients based on standards of excellence. Accreditation Canada's programs and guidance have helped organizations promote quality health care for over 50 years.
The ACHC was set up in 1985 by home care health providers to create an accreditation option which was more focused on the needs of small providers. The process began in Raleigh, North Carolina, with the group incorporated in August 1986. The first accredited organization was awarded certification in January 1987. The company began offering services throughout the whole of the USA in 1996.
. Develop comprehensive and relevant healthcare accreditation standards & programs .
Impartial third-party peer reviews in the evaluation of patient care services .
A systematic approach for chart review & data analysis .
Best practice education and quality suggestions from certified & qualified surveyors for business operations and evidence-based health care .
Data analysis & evaluation for organizational improvement .
Reporting mechanisms, program reviews and results to state government and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) .
Onsite clinical personnel available (clinical advisors/managers: Home Health/Hospice, HME/Sleep, Pharmacy Infusion, Behavioral Health, Quality Assurance, etc.) .
A collaborative, relevant approach to the entire accreditation process Home Care and alternate site services accreditation
While choosing your overseas “Medical Tourism” hospital or Healthcare provider, some of the important points your should bear in mind are :
Standards of governance in the hospital, clinic or healthcare provider
Healthcare provider's commitment to self-improvement, through standardizations and accreditations
Overall medical ethical standards operating within the organization
Clinical staff’s ethical standards and their personal and collective commitment to caring for patients and the wider community
Quality of the clinical staff, including their background education and training, and evidence of continuing professional development by those staff
Quality and ethical standards of the management and their personal and collective commitment to caring for patients and the wider community
Clinical track record of the hospital, clinic, Doctor or healthcare provider
Infection control track record of the healthcare provider
Country of the healthcare provider where the environment and climate may bring a patient into contact with infection and/or diseases that are unfamiliar to them
Existence of a stable, just and fair system to deal with Patients' complaints and where appropriate to compensate the effected or injured party in a fair and reasonable way
Patients should inquire as to whether the hospital is accredited by a recognized accrediting body, such as The Joint Commission or JCI or TRENT or other recognized accrediting bodies.
Cleanliness of the hospital. Make sure you visit the hospital and look around for cleanliness.
Do the services and specialties provided by the health care facility meet the your/patient’s specific medical needs ?
Medical history and current medical condition should be important factors while choosing in the type of hospital and destination of hospital
Make sure you are physically and mentally fit to travel by air for long hours to and from the destination of Hospital
Hospital's success record in carrying out the specific medical procedure
Do the Hospital/clinic provide a copy of the patient rights and responsibilities information ?
Does the hospital provide translation services ?
Training and experience of the doctor and staff who will perform the procedure
How often is the procedure is done in the facility and by the doctor ?
Do they maintain a personal care plan?
How are the caregivers kept informed about specific care needs ?
How is the patient's family kept up-to-date on the medical care ?
Is a discharge plan developed for the patient before leaving the hospital ?
Services provided or available and the primary care doctor's involvement to ensure continuity of care in their home country
If the treatment plan exceeds the Visa expiry date, will the hospital/provider assist in obtaining Visa extension ?
Will the hospital/provider refund any advance money paid by you, if you do not take their services ?
Finally, the decision to use a Healthcare provider or a surgeon in an overseas hospital is solely yours as a medical tourist. It is advised that you should not undergo any medical treatment in overseas hospitals without fully understanding the quality and safety of the Healthcare provider and the risks involved.
RISKS IN MEDICAL TOURISM
Medical tourism does carry some risks that locally-provided medical care does not. Exposure to diseases without having built up natural immunity can be a hazard for weakened individuals, specifically with respect to gastrointestinal diseases, mosquito-transmitted diseases, influenza and tuberculosis, typhoid, etc. Immunization and vaccinations for specific diseases relevant in each country, you travel to, must be taken before you make your medical travel. Hospital take precautions to protect patients from any such diseases but it is not a complete immunity.
Long flights before complete recovery is not good for those with heart (thrombosis) or breathing-related problems. Other vacation activities can be problematic as well — for example, scars may become darker and more noticeable if they sunburn while healing. To minimize these problems, medical tourism patients must often combine their medical trips with sufficient vacation time set aside for rest and recovery in the destination country and get their doctors approval before travel.
You should consult and discuss your local physician or doctor before you travel overseas for any medical treatment or procedure. Surgery Planet does not provide any medical advise.