Few ASCs have established formal medical travel programs because they either don't have the volumes to justify one or don't know how to get started, according to healthcare thought leader Maria Todd, PhD, of AskMariaTodd.
Dr. Todd, who is the director of business development at St. George (Utah) Surgical Center, shared five insights about establishing a medical travel program:
1. It's possible to plan and launch a domestic health travel program for under $10,000. This investment will cover web page enhancements, document creation, and hotel and car service arrangements.
2. Local tourism conventions and visitor bureaus, as well as economic development councils, may offer up to $5,000 in grants to help establish and promote the program.
3. Private cars are more popular than airplanes for surgical travel. Travel arrangements for patients traveling by car should take several factors into consideration, including directions, pit stops and hotel stays on both ends of the trip.
4. It's necessary to create a new patient intake form suitable for medical travel patients. The form should focus on continuity of care and ensuring proper, safe handoffs.
5. Accredited ASCs that are operating a medical travel program should have handoffs outlined in standard operating procedures, as well as a place to record handoff discussions, to avoid problems during surveys.
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