Lemen International is a rare breed of medical tourism facilitator.
Lemen International’s multi-lingual staff, full time medical director, private health butlers, informative web site, thorough attention to the details of health management for their clients clearly and medical tourism certification set it apart from other facilitators anywhere in the world.
If there were a rating system for medical travel companies, Shanghai’s Lemen International might stand out as one of a handful of 5-star medical tourism facilitators that this industry has produced. [Tweet “If rating medical travel companies, only a handful are 5-star.”]
Lemen’s standards are hard to match. A few medical tourism facilitators might be considered 4-star or 3-star. Most medical tourism facilitators and medical travel companies would likely be rated as 2-star or 1-star.
Many 1-star facilitators especially in countries like India and Thailand are not aware how limited their services are and how low they rank compared to competitors in other countries.
Health care and hospitality combined
Medical tourism’s forward thinking entrepreneurs and health leaders have looked to the health care industry as well as hospitality for guidance in setting up appropriate services and procedures that support the care and treatment needs of medical tourists.
The services these leading medical travel companies provide often include basic travel and destination support as a small part of their more encompassing medical concierge, private nursing, care coordination, or patient advocacy services.
They understand that medical tourism has never been about a tummy tuck and a vacation or a weekend jaunt across the border for dental work.[Tweet “Medical tourism has never been about tummy tuck vacations.”]
Are you selling or healing?
“Conscientious organizations, websites and authors try to help patients make informed decisions. But an international patient may not be able to find them among the hundreds of agents and websites that are more interested in selling than healing,” says Kenneth Mays, a spokesman for Thailand’s Bumrungrad International hospital.
Though more industry leaders encourage facilitators and para-professionals to provide auxiliary health care services, why do 1-star facilitators continue to proliferate in countries like India and Thailand?[Tweet “Why so many 1-star facilitators in India and Thailand?”]
In India, tourism professionals
For a patient, a 3-star facilitator in India is hard to find amid the numbers of travel agents and tour operators who call themselves facilitators and tout their medical tourism services.
According to the government of India, “medical tourism facilitators” are tourism professionals. India’s Ministry of Tourism defines medical tourism facilitators as “travel agents/tour operators engaged in medical tourism.” It does not define what they mean by “engaged in medical tourism”. They are referred to in government documents as MTSPs, medical tourism service providers.
In Thailand, travel providers
Thailand’s tourism ministry is the arm of government responsible for the promotion of medical tourism. The “official” website for Thailand medical tourism lists facilitators as “medical tourism operators” along with hotels, restaurants, limousine services and other “travel providers”.
The listed medical tourism agencies offer a variety of booking, marketing, conference services, and “one-stop” services. Very little has been done in either country by health care and tourism leaders to create an infrastructure of medical tourism services that are responsive to the treatment and care needs of medical tourists.
Facilitators are stuck in the tourism culture
Facilitators, left in the hands of the tourism industry, have become defined by the culture and infrastructure of travel and tourism.
1-star facilitators promote themselves as fixers who organize tours and arrange hospital introductions on commission because this is how a tourism business makes its money. They announce on their websites that their services are free of charge (“You should never have to pay for our services”). Their promotional emails mimic those of tourist agencies.
Below is a typical promotional email seeking patients. Despite their boasting, the phrase “medical tourism” is nowhere on their website.
[We are] a leading Indian medical tourism company, which helps patients in getting treatment in best Indian Hospitals at very affordable prices… We are constantly handling patients from your region, and would love to receive more patients. We deal in all the medical specialties so you can refer any patient for any surgical procedures.
Better rating from 1-star to 5-star
How does a medical tourism facilitator become rated 4-star or 5-star?
Lemen International, already a remarkable company, looked for a way to demonstrate its quality on an international level. They chose to test their medical tourism services against the MTQUA international standard of excellence in quality of care and services for medical tourists.[Tweet “Medical tourism certification is an essential instrument of trust”]
“With certification, the company is taking the next step in our continuing pursuit of excellence for our clients,” says Ms. Peng Ling, chairwoman of Lemen International.
Certification is an instrument of trust
Certification is an essential instrument of trust and virtually guarantees quality. It shows facilitators how to become 5-star and even 6-star medical tourism service providers.
Patients and health seekers trust the facilitator to understand their needs and provide the appropriate services. Hospitals and doctors trust the facilitator to provide compassionate and knowledgeable care coordination and ground services that support patients during their healing and recovery periods.
Do you know any medical tourism facilitators or medical travel companies you would give 4 stars or 5 stars to? Give them a “Shout out” in the comments below.[Tweet “Any medical tourism facilitators ranked 4 or 5 star?”]