Pending tasks in human resources for medical travel

Amelia Reyes holds a master in Communications, Public Relations, and Protocol from the School of Business and Social Science.

Amelia Reyes, President of AF Comunicacion Estrategica and Vice President of the Dominican Health Tourism Association. Medical Travel, Medical Tourism, dohealthwell.
Amelia Reyes is an expert Medical Travel strategist and leads her agency AF Comunicacion Estrategica. Source: AFCE

The closing of a year is a good time to reflect.

However, I believe that rather than being critical, we should be participants in the opportunities for improvement and the preparation of a work plan and goals to make the changes we need to improve the health sector.

There is no doubt that human resources are a critical factor in the health system and that the speed in which medicine and technology evolve requires an important dynamism and adaptability.

Given the impact of changing the model of attention focused on the disease rather by a preventive model focused on maintaining the health and reality of the global digital transformation, it pushes us to require new skills, talents, and platforms for online education, electronic medical records, comprehensive clinical and administrative software, telemedicine, big data, and artificial intelligence.

It is essential to modernize the health sector and for this, we need to strengthen the training and strategic planning of human resources accompanied by impact actions that reflect the results within a reasonable time.

This is confirmed by the studies published by the Plenitud Foundation and its founder, Magdalena Rathe. The current state of health personnel is characterized by the disproportion of the categories of professionals and health workers, unbalanced geographical distribution, poor coherence between graduates of some of the university institutions, and the profile that is needed.

It also warns us of the need to have statistics on the installed capacity of the health sector and its different specialties in order to reorient the training programs of specialists to areas that are deficient and to plan in a timely manner the human resources of the sector Health.

Let’s recall the guidelines of the Global Strategy for Human Resources for Health: 2030 Health Personnel, proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), argues that to achieve a healthy life and promote the wellness of the population investments are required substantive and strategic in the global health personnel and a substantial change in planning, education, distribution, loyalty, management and compensation of health personnel.

In order for the promising health tourism sector in our country to continue improving, we need that, along with the development and investment in modern infrastructure and technology, our human resources continue to develop in order to successfully meet the demand.

Given the context, it is essential to visualize the support structure of physicians, including in a special way what has become our Achilles heel: support personnel, nurses and technical and administrative personnel. We need to provide the tools and create the conditions to elevate the position of the health care personnel and offer greater capacities and empowerment to our nurses.

It is a priority to constantly update and improve the quality of service, which is affected by the multiple employment of this staff, physical fatigue, and demotivation. Also, to review the required profile and the recruitment process that is used, the incentive and compensation systems to improve quality and productivity.

In the same way, we need to ensure the retention of qualified personnel and be able to attract new and international talent.

We must focus on constant training, bilingualism, compliance with local regulations and the achievement of international accreditations. It is important to implement and use adequate systems for evaluating competencies and performance that measure compliance with the objectives assigned to personnel.

These milestones can contribute to generating a culture of quality and continuous improvement that will result in better health indicators. The joint work of the health and education sector is essential for effective planning.

It is a powerful binomial that working in an integrated way will significantly impact the performance and perception of our health services. It is more than a call to dialogue, it requires a coordinated and high priority work.

The different actors of both sectors, including health centers, unions, associations, educational institutions, and government, need to increasingly strengthen coordination and align objectives.

It has been a year of much noise, agreements, and conflicting opinions, that despite the very good intentions that may exist, contribute to the blurring of priorities, slowing down the process of progress in such a sensitive and demanding sector. These are some points, but the range is broad and the need to act is imperative in relation to our most important resources to ensure a quality health service.

We have very useful studies and recommendations that start from the WHO and the Observatory of Human Resources in Health in the Representation of PAHO / WHO in the Dominican Republic that serves as a point of support for us to embark on a process of transformation.

In summary, it is essential to create a culture of quality that transcends the personal, institutional and governmental focus, visualizing a great opportunity through strong public-private partnerships that place the well-being of patients at the center.

Amelia Reyes is the founder and President of AF Comunicacion Estrategica.

Reyes obtained a Masters Degree in Communication, Public Relations and Protocol from ESERP, the School of Business and Social Science, and Camilo Jose Cela University (Spain).

She has more than 25 years of experience as head of Human Resources, Communication and Corporate Affairs, Advertising, Industrial Safety, Health, and Environment.

Reyes has participated as a guest lecturer in national and international forums and congresses and has taught Crisis Communication in the Master in Public Management of the PUCMM.

Currently, she is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Dominican Development Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Dominican Health Tourism Association.