As you may already know, I am the Editor-in-Chief of DoHealthWell®, Journalist, and Medical Travel enthusiast.
After years of reading and following mainstream media, along with international agencies, local and global multimedia and everything in between, I finally got an opportunity to make a career change, positively.
My first startup goes back to 2011: Dominican Surgery. It promoted surgeons from my home country, the Dominican Republic.
After a year or so and performance of 300+ leads, I shut it down mainly because I did not have much control over the lead conversions, meaning whether the medical travelers got surgery or not.
Medical Tourism Association
I do not remember making a new years’ resolution, besides when I decided to turn things around starting in January 2016.
I started researching, reading, researching, reading. At a certain point, I became aware of the Medical Tourism Association.
Then, I stopped upon the Certified Medical Tourism Professional course. I thought… Really? Do people get certified for medical tourism?
I was skeptical as usual, but I kept going. I got convinced that this could be a new beginning. I left that on cue and continue to research, now focused on what was happening in the Dominican Republic.
Just what I needed to get back on track.
Medical Travel Industry Re-engagement
In April of 2016, I was days ago from letting go that first startup, specifically the domain name. Deep inside I knew that I couldn’t drop out that easy, no matter how hard this first failure was for me.
Soon after, I read about the 3rd International Health & Wellness Tourism Congress in Santo Domingo, our capital.
Thousands visit the Dominican Republic for the same reasons.
At the Congress, I met and talked for a few minutes with local and international private and public sector industry leaders:
- Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso, president of the Dominican Health Tourism Association
- Dr. Antonio Briceño, CEO of Health Medical Services (USA)
- Masimmo Manzi, Executive Director of PROMED (Costa Rica)
- Pablo Castillo, CEO of Medbrick (Canada)
- Leslee Thompson, President & CEO of Accreditation Canada
- Dr. Adolfo Moreno, Director of the Medical and Dentistry Cluster of Medellin (Colombia)
- Matt Stanton, Senior Director of Telemedicine at the Cleveland Clinic (USA)
- Andrea Daquino, Director of International Business Development, Marketing, and Communications- New York Presbyterian Hospital (USA)
- Joel Santos, current President of the National Association of Hotels & Tourism of the Dominican Republic
- Rene Grullon, Executive Vice-president of Business Affairs & Investment at the Banco Popular Dominicano (DR)
- Rafael Torres, at the time President of Casa de Campo
- Wendy Sanchez Imbert, at the time Director of Health Tourism for the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic
So here I was, determined and strong-willed to make a name for myself and my future Health Tourism related endeavors.
Certified Medical Tourism Professional
The Congress enforced the vision that Medical Travel was becoming a reality in the Dominican Republic. The attendance of top-executives, industry leaders, and the most renowned companies in the country and abroad can’t be wrong. It’s definitely for me!
Going all-in implies getting the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. I couldn’t make the same mistakes. A plan and guidelines are must-haves.
After a year, I got the chance to attend the Virtual Spanish course given in the first week of November 17′. It was everything that I have expected ever since I re-engaged in the industry.
The way the MTA put together this certification is exceptional. For three days straight, 2-3 hours per day, I became overwhelmed by all the information given.
On the final day, I reflected on the course and the timeline of how I ended there, and how much pain and tears I had to go through.
Professionally, I encountered a “reinvention experience,” a new beginning for me.
Before the course, I knew random pieces of information about Medical Travel that sometimes made sense, sometimes not. Nothing can surpass the mentorship from an institution with years of experience. It was not until the classes that I finally put all the pieces to the puzzle together, and ALL made sense to me.
Patient Experience and Protocols and Processes
The CMTP course consists of 9 modules:
- Introduction to Medical Tourism
- Medical Tourism Business Models
- Protocols and Processes
- Facilitation of Care
- Managing Risk & Events
- The Importance of the Patient Experience
- Comparative Medical Tourism Models
All of them are extremely important and complement with one another, but I will focus on the ones that most impacted me: The Importance of the Patient Experience and Protocols and Processes.
The patient’s experience begins when a prospective medical tourist becomes aware that there are options for healthcare abroad. In short, is when they consume the first pieces of information.
The key to making their experience a remarkable one is to respond right away after the prospective patient contacts you. It applies to doctors, hospitals, facilitators, consultants, etc. Without a doubt, that sets the tone for the whole patient-service provider relationship.
Websites, professional verbiage on the phone, and overall presentation is a significant element for those who took the time to contact you as an option.
The patient’s experience is about quality treatment. It extends to months after receiving service.
In Protocols and Processes stage you provide guidance, facts, and information that can lead to a next level, meaning the patient’s conversion. Here, it’s relevant to your services to capturing the medical tourists’ full attention and interest. If you don’t handle yourself right, forget it, there’s no chance because they’ll look somewhere else.
In all it is the preparation stage, contacting the primary physician, disclosing packages, travel and billing details, vaccinations (if any), preop-post-op indications, among other issues.
The highest goal in this stage for service providers is to render a sense of security for the travelers and their families as well.
I am convinced that it comes down to what the quote mentions when talking about Health & Wellness. I can’t think of anything else. It wasn’t a surprise to me that it represents the central aspect for the MTA. And I am a witness that it showed in the course, from the beginning to the end.
Putting the patient’s needs front and center MUST show in hospitals/clinics, doctors, facilitators, nurses, cab drivers, recovery houses, and everybody in the value chain of the industry, no matter the country.
Final thoughts on the CMTP
- We all need to be on the same page. That way, not only your service is appreciated and on top of that, the destination. For me, of course, it’s the Dominican Republic.
- If you are unsure about making Health & Wellness Tourism as a career and need a professional motivation upgrade, I suggest you take the course. It will open your mind to endless possibilities and give you the right guidance.
- After passing the course, you get access to the Medical Tourism University, which will even broaden your perspective. As a requirement, all CMTP graduates need to have 10 hours of continuing education.
- Health & Wellness Tourism is a market that grows 25% annually, with about 14 million traveling abroad each year, resulting in a billion dollar industry. The only way to deliver quality service is learning the know-how from the people that already have the experience and the platform.
- I figured that these guidelines fit different kinds of backgrounds in any country that wants to develop a Health & Wellness Tourism industry.
Certified Medical Tourism Professional/DoHealthWell®
A couple of months before the CMTP course, and since Dominican Surgery was not an option at the time, I questioned on how I was going to get back to the industry.
Then, something clicked! I came up with this idea of integrating journalism, my vocation, and centered it on Medical Travel, my passion. Details about DoHeathWell® are worth another post when the time is right.
While I was constructing this website, I posted some articles on LinkedIn to get some validation. The dozens of likes and shares, hundreds of views, some comments, and the followers and connections made thanks to the postings, conveyed a strong message: Health & Wellness journalism was the right choice, no matter the ups and downs suffered.
DoHealthWell® is a reality thanks to the support of my wife Jessika, who pushed me all the way down until it became a brand. I remember that she was the one who drew the name on my office chart after I first mentioned it.
Also, thanks to the help of the MTA resources, Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso’s guidance, and support, as well as Gloriana, Kim, and Bill, our course facilitators.
A special appreciation to Jessica Tobin, she is the Administrative Manager, Global Certification Programs. She was always there to provide all the information needed about the CMTP.
Stories present context, they show the essence of a company or a brand. It may encourage others to pursue a career in this great industry.
To all, thank you for giving me your time and attention.