the evolving roles of medical tourism facilitators

A forum to discuss Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and its relationship to Multiple Sclerosis.

the evolving roles of medical tourism facilitators

Postby Cece » Tue May 24, 2011 6:07 pm

http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2011/0 ... 4.abstract
Med Ethics doi:10.1136/jme.2011.042374

The ‘patient's physician one-step removed’: the evolving roles of medical tourism facilitators

Jeremy Snyder1, Valorie A Crooks2, Krystyna Adams1, Paul Kingsbury2, Rory Johnston2
+ Author Affiliations

1Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

Published Online First 8 April 2011

Abstract

Background Medical tourism involves patients travelling internationally to receive medical services. This practice raises a range of ethical issues, including potential harms to the patient's home and destination country and risks to the patient's own health. Medical tourists often engage the services of a facilitator who may book travel and accommodation and link the patient with a hospital abroad. Facilitators have the potential to exacerbate or mitigate the ethical concerns associated with medical tourism, but their roles are poorly understood.

Methods
12 facilitators were interviewed from 10 Canadian medical tourism companies.

Results
Three themes were identified: facilitators' roles towards the patient, health system and medical tourism industry. Facilitators' roles towards the patient were typically described in terms of advocacy and the provision of information, but limited by facilitators' legal liability. Facilitators felt they played a positive role in the lives of their patients and the Canadian health system and served as catalysts for reform, although they noted an adversarial relationship with some Canadian physicians. Many facilitators described personally visiting medical tourism sites and forming personal relationships with surgeons abroad, but noted the need for greater regulation of their industry.

Conclusion
Facilitators play a substantial and evolving role in the practice of medical tourism and may be entering a period of professionalisation. Because of the key role of facilitators in determining the effects of medical tourism on patients and public health, this paper recommends a planned conversation between medical tourism stakeholders to define and shape facilitators' roles.

I do not have access to the full article, but it came up in a CCSVI search and has at least a mention of CCSVI inside. A look at the facilitators of medical tourism in Canada.
Cece
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