Dr. Claudia Mika at the ITIC MENA: Regional insights - benefits of accreditation

Dr. Claudia Mika at the ITIC MENA: Regional insights - benefits of accreditation

Dr. Claudia Mika at the ITIC MENA: Regional insights - benefits of accreditation

Dr Mika began by identifying the primary challenges for providers seeing international patients, which include cultural sensitivity, legal concerns, language barriers, patient safety, staff safety and payments. Moving on, Dr Mika looked at the what, why and how of international hospital accreditation. Accreditation organisations, she said, don’t want promises from hospitals that just say ‘we are the best at everything’. First of all, hospitals should align their offering with what patients and their insurers are looking for, so ensuring they are able to show data on patient outcomes, and have staff that speak the languages of the patients you are appealing to, are key. “International patient management means that you have to have staff members that can communicate appropriately with your patients,” said Dr Mika, adding: “Is the facility safe, attractive and legally acceptable for patients?” These are key issues for international accreditation.

There was then a detailed guide as to how the Temos accreditation process works, looking at the exact details they are asking for from hospitals and clinics, with Dr Mika then identifying the eight steps towards accreditation, beginning with registration and application, accreditation agreement, orientation and self assessment, technical review and preassessment, onsite assessment, accreditation decision, progress reports, and finally, annual follow ups. “It is vital,” said Dr Mika, “that the accreditation process includes the patient’s perspective.” She continued: “Accreditation should strive to:

- Assure optimal care and adequate costs
- Assure highest possible patient safety
- Assure the best patient experience.”

“Standards should be used as a tool for quality and service improvement, and accreditation can demonstrate third-party confirmation of high quality provision of services,” concluded Dr Mika. Vital for the international travel and health insurance sector specifically is cooperation from assistance companies, who are able to vouch for the hospitals in their networks and offer references that demonstrate their confidence in their healthcare providers.

Dr Nithya Aiyanan, Manager, Quality Improvements and Patient Safety, RAK Hospital

Dr Aiyanan discussed the accreditation process from the provider point of view. She began with an overview of the UAE’s healthcare sector looking at population growth and the increasing value of the healthcare market – the value of which is expected to reach over US$21 billion in 2023. Cross-border care around the UAE is common, and international accreditation has allowed hospitals in the UAE to position themselves as a medical tourism destination for people from farther away. The UAE leads the Middle Eastern wellness tourism market, with Dubai ranking at the top of the list of medical tourism destinations.

What does a medical tourist look at, asked Dr Aiyanan. “Medical tourists look for international accreditation, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, the latest technology, and skilled healthcare professionals. Accessibility is key as well, with the ease of travel ease of obtaining a medical visa, and an excellence patient experience also a vital part of the patient experience.”

Temos is the only accreditation organisation that combines hospitals and healthcare, allowing enhancement of branding and visibility, along with enhanced business development opportunities and the chance to optimise the patient experience. “There has been an increase in customer satisfaction from 94.6 per cent to 97.1 per cent, and a two per cent increase in international clients from countries other than the Middle East and Africa,” pointed out Dr Aiyanan, highlighting how important accreditation and the ability to prove adherence to quality and patient safety is to patients and payers.

Dr Aiyanan concluded by sharing details of RAK Hospital’s offering to international patients.

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