There is a growing trend among Americans to seek affordable medical treatment options by traveling abroad for their healthcare needs. According to Patients Beyond Borders, medical travelers from the United States seek treatment for a variety of reasons including cosmetic surgery, dentistry and orthopedics, mostly traveling to countries in South America, the Middle East or Asia.
At the same time, patients from other countries are seeking specialized medical care in the United States, especially in areas that are not well represented in their own countries. The Medical Tourism Association (MTA) develops medical travel programs with top international hospitals, healthcare providers, medical travel facilitators, and insurance companies to help patients find medical health providers around the world. Renee-Marie Stephano, JD, president of the Medical Tourism Association says, “Countries report that the industry is growing on average 15-35 percent annually.” To meet this demand, “We are connecting even more buyers with healthcare providers globally. In turn, we are assisting those healthcare providers to invest in training and certification for their facilities and staff.”
Daniel. F. Kelly, MD, director of the Pacific Brain Tumor Center, Amy Eisenberg, nurse practitioner and clinical fellowship director, and Samantha Levy, marketing manager for Providence Saint John’s Health Center recently attended the 8th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress in Orlando, Florida, hosted by the MTA. Representatives from hospitals, international healthcare groups, international facilitators, healthcare insurance companies and other associated healthcare partners and industry groups were eager to expand their knowledge and build connections with each other.
The availability of medical care in the United States is an appealing choice for many, particularly for key markets in Asia and the Middle East. Dr. Kelly, a speaker at the conference observes, “This meeting was a real eye-opener. It is clear there is a tremendous desire and need for specialized neurosurgical and neuro-oncology care in many parts of the world. As a result of this meeting, we are working to make our services at Pacific Brain Tumor Center more easily accessible to the international medical community who may have patients needing advanced neurosurgical services and comprehensive care for brain, skull base and pituitary tumors.”
Amy Eisenberg, MSN, ARNC, CNRN works with Dr. Kelly and coordinates clinical fellowships for US and Canadian neurosurgeons as well as observational fellowships and visiting scholar programs for neurosurgeons from outside North America. In the last few years, fellows have come from Brazil, China, Chile, Egypt, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey and Germany.
The Pacific Brain Tumor Center specializes in concierge care for patients with brain tumors and other neurological diseases. It provides individualized treatment plans for its patients—including both domestic cases as well as a growing number of cases originating from outside the United States. The Pacific Brain Tumor Center works with international facilitators who specialize in helping patients and their families navigate their way through the entire international health care process including diagnosis confirmation, medical record review, information gathering and, in some cases, visa aid and travel planning assistance prior to treatment.
Patient confidentiality is assured by working with an international patient record management service, Health Flights Solutions, that streamlines all medical information flow and correspondence though its HIPAA-compliant patient provider portal.
The Pacific Brain Tumor Center can now offer compassionate care and clinical excellence to patients living outside the United States. Thanks to a growing industry intent upon helping those in need, patients should no longer worry about the complexities surrounding international health care travel.
Contributor: Amy Eisenberg, MSN, ARNC, CNRN is the program nurse practitioner and clinical fellowship director at the Pacific Brain Tumor Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center. Her clinical responsibilities support the efforts of the neurosurgery and neuroscience teams. In addition, she coordinates the Clinical Fellowship Program and the Neuroscience Nursing Symposium.
Zara Jethani, MS, MBA is the marketing director for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute. Her background is in molecular genetics research and healthcare marketing.