Health & Wellness Tourism Quality & Safety
Nothing can ruin a health & wellness tourism destination and tarnish the brands of every stakeholder faster than bad press about poor quality and safety failures.
Quality and safety programs with sound policies and procedures must extend to every touch point in the health and wellness tourism value chain.
Vetting practices and standards, verification of the claimed credentials and competencies, and physical inspections and observations are all part of the brand integrity.
Standards & Best Practices
Helping Public and Private Stakeholders
The Center for Health Tourism Strategy helps public and private stakeholders to build, grow and manage their health & wellness tourism destinations & communities.
We are defining the future of health & wellness travel and tourism by providing you a variety of generous resources you can use for:
Health Tourism Quality & Safety
For newcomers to health and hospitality management or tourism services, grasping all that there is to know about clinical risk and patient safety can be daunting. You simply don't know what you don't know. Understanding the risks of health and wellness tourism and travel planning for visitors with special needs is difficult to grasp quickly. People who lack knowledge about medical services, the language of medicine, anatomy, physiology and direct patient care are often at a loss to identify risks, or know where to find proven best practices.
There are many sets of standards to review and practices to implement. All start with planning for risk avoidance and risk management. But embarking on the development of a risk assessment, and planning for mitigation and management assumes a level of knowledge you may not yet have. While it may be simply to make checklists available to you, you may not be prepared to understand the significance of the items on the checklist.
Your quality and safety program, policies and procedures must extend to every touch point in the destination value chain, not only the clinical environment. This includes vetting practices and standards, verification of these claimed credentials and competencies, and physical inspections and observations to demonstrate that what is set forth in policy and standards is actually upheld in practice. You must also address change management and disaster procedures and preparedness at each touch point. All this preparation is difficult. Few destinations and stakeholders in the business of health and wellness tourism have attempted this, despite the obvious need. Those who go first will invite scrutiny but the ones that do well will distinguish themselves beyond comparison through first mover advantage and brand recognition.
Read our blogs to learn more
There are many articles on the Center for Health Tourism Strategy website about designing the quality policies, procedures, and systems to document monitor and manage clinical and customer service quality and patient safety. We believe strongly that while accreditation is a significant step in the right direction, even those not accredited have a responsibility to develop and maintain clinical quality and patient safety programs. If you read these articles, you will accelerate your knowledge and understanding of what is involved, and how to design a unique product that can be marketed by either the practitioner, facility or even for a specific destination.
Working with Consultants
Find experts who have the knowledge and experience to guide you to resources such as published industry best practices and point you in the direction of existing standards that are accepted worldwide. Read everything you can. You will probably have to quilt together standards from healthcare, travel, hospitality, and several ancillary domains.
Specifying Terms of Reference
When specifying what you want a consultant to do for you, these will need to specify objectives for your Terms of Reference (ToRs) and outputs of the assignment. ToRs should include, at the highest level, the following 4 outputs: 1) training to accelerate your learning curve; 2) guidance or development of your quality management program, policies and procedures; 3) assistance to implement them; and 4) model procedures and metrics you can use to maintain quality and safety through measurement and evaluation.
Expect the budget for this assignment to rise well above the USD $250,000 level and take more than 18 months to complete. The reason for this is because each instance will be unique and dependent on the scope of your local value chain. Purchased copies of existing standards will cost a small fortune because each is licensed and proprietary. The consultants will need to perform a situation analysis first, and then begin the assignment of "plugging in" the findings from research to identify relevant standards and best practices. The more experienced the consultant, the faster this second phase can be completed, saving you time and money. You'll also save money and time if stakeholders will share their existing quality and safety standards, protocols, policies and procedures.
Take care that you aren't sold a copy of some other client's work. Otherwise, you'll spend money and time trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Standards, policies, procedures and practices must be practicable to be useful and upheld over time. You'll also need a way to store and manage all data from stakeholders that will be generated to assure and manage quality and avoid risk. Training is a necessity because few newly hired candidates will arrive on the job with the know how to be productive.
If you choose to proceed in destination development but skip this step and something goes wrong, the media will ask why you proceeded with such reckless disregard for quality and safety - and you'll have no acceptable excuse or defense. The world will become aware that you took the easy route at the expense of quality and safety and the court of public opinion will judge you harshly. This is important because one rogue stakeholder that suffers a quality or safety failure can damage the brand of the entire destination.