by Dr. Hemani Thukral
Founding Executive Director at Healthcare International Australia
Transforming the world of health care by pushing the boundaries while geared towards a shared goal: Introducing ‘International Model of Health Care (IMOHC)’ – A new way of thinking!
Globalisation is changing the health care landscape with new trends in medical tourism, as well as the challenges that accompany these unchartered waters.
Today, medical tourism is a global phenomenon that continues to grow in a haphazard manner. It was estimated at approximately USD60 billion in 2006 worldwide, expanding to USD100 billion in 2012, according to McKinsey & Company. The industry faces a number of challenges while offering benefits to the individual and potentially society and the health care system.
At the same time, health care systems are under pressure to perform and contain costs in most countries. Patient safety and quality of care remains a primary concern around the world; healthcare costs are rising, life expectancy is increasing and demand for chronic disease management is projected to grow while resources are limited. Could IMOHC provide an alternative choice to alleviate the increasing pressures faced by health care systems in most countries in the western world?
Presenting at the International Health & Wealth conference in Portugal, Dr Hemani Thukral, Director of Healthcare International Australia, contended that a systematic and integrated approach to developing medical tourism is required at the international level between countries. With the significant growth in medical tourism worldwide has come an urgent need for greater transparency and a more systematic approach to developing the sector.
International Model of Health Care, IMOHC: ‘A person centric, value-driven model of care in the international context that focuses on outcomes and experiences, at an affordable cost.’
IMOHC is a reference framework for the global medical tourism community. Its purpose is to provide support for development, performance assessment, benchmarking and moving from ‘no system’ to systematic and integrated approach to develop a medical travel / tourism system. It enables to build standards and best practice through learning and with a focus on continual improvement. It clarifies accountability, responsibility and transparency in the system. And ultimately it benefits the individual, their experiences and outcomes prioritised above numbers. In turn, developing an IMOHC based medical travel system that is transparent and has a shared responsibility and accountability towards consumers seeking overseas treatment.
Key aspects of IMOHC
- True person centric, value-driven framework
- Systematic change through collaboration
- Not country specific and adaptable to the needs of the health system
- Bilateral relationship
- Resilient system
- Learn and share for continuous improvement
Benefits of the model
- Build an authoritative source of information that can be used for multiple purposes such as policy making, decision making for initiatives and benchmarking
- Build standards and best practices for medical tourism
- Enable reporting to inform consumers, empower clinicians and service providers towards shared responsibility and shared accountability
- Increase transparency and drive continuous learning and improvement
- Conduct action research and learn from the system to continuously improve
- Share the responsibility across the full spectrum – health care provider, medical tourism facilitator, specialist, GP, consumer, policy and decision makers
- Share the accountability across the system!
- Facilitate long-term growth of the medical tourism industry in a responsible manner
Based on a systems and holistic approach, IMOHC has three core guiding principles, seven building blocks and a service delivery framework that enables operationalising of the model. It focuses on building resilience in the medical travel system; in simple terms it focuses on ‘staying safe’ by building effective controls at multiple levels.
The building blocks are the key characteristics that define the IMOHC system. These are aimed at creating a resilient medical travel/tourism system or redesigning existing systems. Each of the building blocks is essential.
The service delivery framework provides an architectural structure of which ‘collaboration’ forms the backbone. In simple terms, without professional and international collaboration between organisations and countries, the outcomes and experiences of the person would be at risk. In other words bilateral collaboration between the countries and inter professional collaboration within and across the borders is a must for the system to prevent, cope or recover from unwanted events that may happen. Health information technology is an enabler of the framework. It is a vital component of the system that allows building not only effective controls into the system but providing better user experience.
I welcome you to engage in the development of an IMOHC based travel system and embrace the systematic change that we can bring together for the benefit of the individual – a patient, person or consumer!
About the author:
Dr Hemani Thukral is the founding Director of MyMedicalChoices and Healthcare International Australia. Drawing upon more than 20 years’ experience spanning healthcare and information technology, combined with executive management, Dr Thukral brings a holistic view and new thinking to do things differently to deliver safe, effective and efficient patient care. She is a health advocate fostering unyielding values, an entrepreneur and a change agent to promote patient safety and quality of care at various levels. Her strategic intent is to drive healthcare reforms and facilitate dynamic debate to deliver advancements in patient safety and quality of care across different healthcare settings nationally and internationally. Providing thought leadership, Dr Thukral is steering the medical tourism industry to develop in a systematic and integrated manner globally.