Defined loosely in Red Teaming Journal, red teaming is the practice of viewing a problem from an adversary or competitor’s perspective. The goal of most red teams is to enhance decision making, either by specifying the adversary’s preferences and strategies or by simply acting as a devil’s advocate.  The entire point of the Red Team is to see how weak the organization’s security or efficiency, safety or quality posture is.

red_teamTraditionally considered in the context of counter terrorism and IT penetration testing, Red Teaming principles can be applied to any process that involves the potential for human error and oversight.  Health and wellness tourism has many points of vulnerability within the logistics, safety, case management, and marketing of medical tourism operations. Red teaming in healthcare and health tourism helps leaders to lead innovative customizations to existing or outdated practices and protocols with better ones. It is designed to help leaders expand their leadership skills where performance falls short of their potential and show them why it happened and how to fix it. The Red Teaming process identifies blind spots and closes leadership and preparedness gaps.  These include gaps in the key areas of leadership, purpose, future, mediocrity, culture, talent, knowledge, innovation, expectation, complexity, and failure.

In medical tourism, the challenge in sizing up the opposition on your competitive battlefield is no different.   So, who is playing the role of your competition?  Who are your bad guys?  Are they really giants , or merely bigger than you, but not necessarily better?  What self-fulfilling prophecies are coloring your strategy and your decisions?  Conversely, what dangerous assumptions have been overlooked in the execution of your plan?  We bring real-time, action-reaction, role-playing disciplines that pit your real-life Blue Team decision-makers, international patient department team members and managers and nursing staff against our Red Team adversaries. Simply identifying the gaps is not enough. Our Red Teaming projects leave you with practicable, actionable leadership and management hacks to bridge those gaps in order to create a true culture of leadership within your organization and drive record-breaking bottom-line and top-line business results.

How do you know whether your strategy is truly comprehensive, integrated, adaptive and networked?  How do you test your medical tourism team and their operations before inviting the public?

We deliver actionable results

Our red teaming experts bring subject matter expertise to deliver outstanding risk mitigation exercises, fantastic confidence builders, exercises of discovery for leadership, mechanisms of voice for your teams, and instruments of real-time organizational learning for all. These red team experts will try to break your medical tourism process at every level from first call to measurement and evaluation of outcomes. As outsiders, they have no personal stake or interest in your operation. Their assigned mission is to engage your hospital, clinic, ASC, or hotel/spa in FULL COMPETITIVE ADVERSARIAL INTENT. The bring no internal assumptions about your process or organization; nor do they have any prejudices or assumptions about your real-life competitors. Using only information gained during the exercise, and real-time analyses and intelligence about your competition, their primary role is to fully defeat your plan through coordinated action designed to TEST AND SUPPRESS YOUR STRENGTHS and NEUTRALIZE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES.  In doing this, they will target any apparent weaknesses and leverage all threat avenues –  if at any time the Blue Team displays it’s vulnerabilities, the Red Team will immediately exploit those vulnerabilities.

The exercise can be as broad or as focused as you like. It can be a one-day exercise or a multi-day event that covers a complete spectrum of events associated with your medical tourism or international patient operation. We can also conduct a series of one-day events (one per competitor) or a multi-day exercise that pits you against your entire competitive environment. Each project is uniquely scaled and customized to your strategic decision support needs and objectives.

Some of this may be familiar to you if your organization already has been certified as ISO 9001:2008, because you will remember failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) or failure modes, effects and criticality analysis (FMECA).  These are step-by-step approaches for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, or a product or service.  Rarely have I witnessed any medical tourism facilitator – especially those certified by all the various commercial, proprietary certifying bodies (CBs), who I need not glorify by publishing their name into this article and giving them free SEO exposure – but what the heck are they certifying that they teach in a couple of days in a class?

I’ve been working in healthcare and supporting domains for more than 3 decades. My first red teaming exercise in medical tourism business was in 1983. I love what I do because I can help others every day. I can use the training and experience from my work as a clinic, hospital and ambulatory surgery center (ASC) administrator and a surgical nurse to my clients’ projects. I can share my experience and insight from my work as a health law paralegal and mediator, the volunteer work I’ve done as a firefighter/EMT, and the training I’ve completed from the Office of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Disaster Preparedness in Healthcare and Disaster Recovery for Healthcare and Small Businesses. I also share lessons learned from work experience as a provider network developer and contract negotiator with large health insurance plans, and training and work experience as a travel agent and hotel inspector. My latest coursework has been in social media marketing and another course I recently refreshed was in Antiterrorism Awareness Training. It is something I encourage everyone to learn so we can keep patients and others who depend on us as safe as possible. Few medical tourism industry consultants can leverage this eclectic but practical background to plan health tourism strategy and also have the know-how to execute the tactics to bring the strategy to life.  For me, that’s the best part of my work – it is never boring or repetitive. I am constantly challenged with each assignment. I never dreamed that all of this would prepare me and others on my team to carry out the FMECA and find the errors and defects that could jeopardize a patient or affect the customer in a negative way, or jeopardize payment and revenue cycle operations, or examine the logistics and care coordination of a medical tourism experience.  The “effects analysis” enables me to study the consequences of the failures and write a corrective action plan to be implemented by my client to improve their operations.

Another reason I am called to healthcare facilities and other businesses either at startup or mid operation, is to make a situation analysis to identify and remediate conditions in the context of the Eight Wastes. My experience as a surgical nurse, hospital COO and ASC CEO prepared me for these projects Taiichi Ohno originally enumerated seven wastes (muda) and later added underutilized people as the eighth waste commonly found in physical production. Unfortunately, in a hospital or clinic setting, these eight wastes are easily applied. They include:

  1. overproduction ahead of demand
  2. waiting for the next process, worker, material or equipment
  3. unnecessary transport of materials (In this assignment, when combined with #4 and #5, I consistently save hospitals and ASCs 30% of their overall surgical case costs which neutralizes the cost of my fee, and then some!)
  4. over-processing of tools and instruments due to poor tool and product design
  5. inventories of supplies and implant devices more than the absolute minimum
  6. unnecessary movement by employees during the course of their work (such as to look for parts, tools, prints or help)
  7. production of defective parts or services
  8. under-utilization of employees’ brainpower, skills, experience and talents.

Cutting the eight wastes in any part of the operation (direct patient care, administration, marketing, revenue cycle, sterile processing, etc.) enables the provider to cut costs and slightly lower prices if they believe that they compete on price. Or, conversely, instead of cutting price, it enables them to compete by adding more amenities or inclusions into their bundle without lowering the price to  make it more attractive to their buyers – assuming they already know what is attractive to buyers. If one adds “more” to an existing package that is not appreciated by the target consumer, they end up back at one of the eight wastes.

When to call in an expert for this

  • When a health or wellness tourism process, product or service is being designed or redesigned, after quality function deployment
  • When an existing health or wellness tourism process, product or service is being applied in a new way
  • Before developing control plans for a new or modified health or wellness tourism process
  • When improvement goals are planned for an existing health or wellness tourism process, product or service
  • When analyzing failures of an existing health or wellness tourism process, product or service
  • Periodically throughout the life of the health or wellness tourism process, product or service

Each step in the execution of a medical tourism launch plan or strategy is examined in the following detail:

  • Action
  • Reaction
  • Counteraction
  • Observations
  • Record
  • Review
  • Learning

If you believe you may benefit from some help with your Quality Management System, or you would like an external review for FMEA / FMECA, or you’d like a Red Teaming exercise, call me and let’s discuss what is happening and your concerns. What we need to start the discussion is which action(s) within your plan or strategy is of greatest concern, or if it is simply a review of all processes related to medical tourism. Red teaming is entirely different from any accreditation survey you’ve already experienced. FMEA and FMECA are necessary gap analysis and mock drills to prepare your organization for accreditation surveys and renewals.


  • Late January – USA /MEXICO
  • Late February – USA / LATIN AMERICA
  • Mid-April – USA / EASTERN EUROPE & CIS Star Click CTA