by Maria Todd, MHA PhD
CEO & Founder
Center for Health Tourism Strategy at Mercury Healthcare International
The business benefits to selecting and implementing a specialized health tourism customer communication management (CCM) solution are plentiful. Currently, only one such tool exists in the industry to address the complex workflows for health and wellness tourism coordination. It guides the health tourism cluster, a hospital or clinic international patient department, or a medical tourism facilitator to cover all the bases, market their services, communicate with and securely exchange medical records and other clinical documentation, plan travel, arrange all activities on the patient's and companion's agenda, and measure outcomes.
A purpose built medical tourism CCM facilitates and supports the processes that must be developed, implemented and documented if the medical tourism business seeks accreditation or certification under ISO 9001:2015, TEMOS, JCI and many other accreditation and recognition programs. A well-designed medical tourism and health travel CCM enables health and wellness tourism coordinators to improve their business, reduce overheads, spend fewer hours on case management and solve three fundamental challenges in ways other tools available for general CRM are not designed to manage out of the box.
Designed by medical tourism and travel experts for medical tourism and travel experts, Higowell takes the medical tourism coordination business to new heights for business success, patient convenience and brand consistency and reliability.
A purpose built health and wellness tourism CCM platform that enables real-time, cross-channel, interactive communications between facilitator, patient, surgeon, health facility, and supporting personnel (drivers, arrival and departure coordinators, travel planners, clinical case managers, TPAs, insurers and other transaction partners, etc.) results in dramatically higher customer experience. They achieve this in the following three ways:
- Personalization - create highly relevant, personalized communications with all channel partners involved in the patient's medical travel experience, across virtually all channels. The channels chosen by or already used by your internal and external customers. You can easily conform to them and make it easier to do business with you.
- Interactivity - a good CCM enables you to visualize the three swim lanes of process mapping in real time (mobile and web) that enable all involved parties to engage with one another without revealing too much data until it is appropriate to make the revelations.
- Consistency - a centralized medical tourism customer communications management system improved and enhanced customer experience. When the software enables communications in a channel-agnostic way and is pushed to customers and channel partners (destination suppliers, travel suppliers, facilitators, and partners in the patients' home towns) via their channel of choice, patients relax as their anxiety is reduced, and they find it easier to trust the brand and its promises. That trust is what keeps customers coming back for additional services increasing customer lifetime value (CLV) and enabling them to become brand ambassadors and social influencers.
- Convenience - A medical tourism and health travel customer communications management platform enables you to get the right messages to your customers, timely. The entire medical tourism patient experience becomes easy - for beginners and advanced planners alike, with pre-populated digital forms, electronic signature capabilities, travel planning and more.
- Channel partner collaboration - Each medical tourism business can structure how they use the tool and connect with other partners without dependency on an IT support person to make changes to the workflows and databases to change processes as the business dictates.
- Elimination of departmental and other silos - One of the most challenging things to prepare at the hospital or clinic, especially if the facility is large, is the preparation of a medical tourism case rate. The international patient department representative must pull together cost and price and availability and clinical appropriateness data from multiple sources and package up everything for presentation to the patient's facilitator or coordinator or case manager or TPA or insurer. In the consumer world of medical tourism, each case is different and negotiated as a single case agreement. Bundled pricing for a single case agreement has many time consuming elements to join together.
- Internal health facility cost containment - Single case agreements actually cost the facility or clinic "more" to prepare than the same procedure scheduled for a local resident. Total cost=Total Variable Cost+Fixed Cost. Because the marginal cost is the cost per unit, also known as variable costs, since each case is different, the variable costs increase and steal margins if the cases are priced alike. Hence, we see prices with asterisks in all marketing, with disclaimers that the case cost can be different for each person. People don't like that. At the same time, hospital and clinic CFOs know that if they take take marginal cost and multiple by quantity produced they may find total variable costs are higher and they don't want to lose margin by agreeing to enter medical tourism. Then, on top of all this, if they must take a portion of the price and pay it to a facilitator as a commission, negotiated on a contract by contract basis with each facilitator, that throws in another variable cost.
Risk management and reduction
- Collaboration - more hands stirring the pot increases risk, but that also means that a tool that can help coordinate clinical, legal, financial, compliance, marketing, logistics and other teams to share drafts and process maps from the beginning of the process helps to reduce internal roadblocks and speeds time to market. It also enables the stakeholders to present a cohesive and organized "face" to the patient and his or her travel companion.
- Compliance management - To reduce medical tourism planning oversights, errors of omission and legal risk, someone with responsibility for compliance (marketing, advertising, data security, financial, tax, visa and immigration, and more) must be able to have full view of the entire communications and documentation stream at every stage and in every form in which the material appears - paper, web pages, mobile applications, forms, medical records, authorizations and releases, etc.. This way, the person responsible for compliance is able to fully review and analyze not only what customers will see, from the facility, the facilitator and other channel partners, and how they see it. Compliance personnel are better able to manage, track, audit, and approve changes that bump up against regulatory language quickly and easily because changes are made in one location across the entire medical tourism continuum of care.
There's only one medical tourism customer communication management software in the market at this time.
Higowell's specialized medical tourism and health travel CCM eliminates the time consuming adaptation required to make what many medical tourism agencies and facilities currently "make do" with. While ZenDesk, spreadsheet programs, general CRM programs like Sales Force can be made to work, they simply aren't purpose built specifically to operate and coordinate a medical tourism business.
When you decide it's time to upgrade to the only purpose built business management tool available for medical tourism and health travel - check out Higowell. You'll be amazed. Designed by medical tourism and travel experts for medical tourism and travel experts, Higowell takes the medical tourism coordination business to new heights for business success, patient convenience and brand consistency and reliability.