How to Design a Medical Travel Program for Spine Care: Q&A With Dr. Arnold Feldman FeaturedWritten by Laura Dyrda | Monday, 25 February 2013 20:47
Interventional pain management specialist Arnold Feldman, MD, has launched The Feldman Institute's medical travel program, which helps patients arrange travel plans to his practice and surgery center in Baton Rouge, La. Arrangements include lodging, transportation, car rental and medical spa services. Here, Dr. Feldman discusses how he set up his program and medical tourism trends in the future.
Q: Why did you decide to add a travel program to your practice?
Dr. Arnold Feldman: We have treated patients who live throughout the United States and internationally for many years and the demand for our services by patients living outside Louisiana is rapidly growing. The travel program was created as a value-added resource for these patients. It supports patients when planning their visit to The Feldman Institute in Baton Rouge and helping to relieve some of the stress of traveling. We want to ensure patients traveling to us can spend their time focusing on improving their health.
Q: What steps did you take to build The Feldman Institute Travel Program?
AF: Initially we referred patients to suitable hotels and gave them information on events and activities in Baton Rouge. From there, we evolved into designating local hotel and restaurant partners to further assist our patients. Now we have an assigned member of our staff to serve as a concierge for our patients traveling from outside Baton Rouge, throughout the country and internationally. This staff member is available to help coordinate their travel, hotel, transportation, meals and schedules, and provide another additional service requested by patients.
Q: What challenges did you face when launching the program and how were you able to overcome them?
AF: The biggest challenge is managing the entry of patients coming into the country and determining the details of their travel. We have overcome those issues by recruiting a dedicated staff member who is experienced in handling these matters for patients. Having a patient concierge has solved many administrative issues for us as well as enhances our patient care to an even higher level.
Q: What trends are you seeing in the types of patients taking advantage of the travel program? Has it been successful?
AF: The trend for patients traveling for healthcare is growing by leaps and bounds. Medical tourism is a significant sector of the healthcare economy and from all that I have witnessed in my own practice and read it will only continue to grow. It's interesting to note that I see patients from all sectors of the economy taking advantage of travel programs for their healthcare. Patients are looking for the best, most innovative care available to them, and they are willing to travel if that's what is necessary to return to the quality of life they had before an injury or illness.
Q: Do you have any plans to grow or add to the travel program in the future? What are your goals for the program?
AF: We are going continue to expand our travel program and its services to meet the needs of patients. We are looking at adding structured events for patients and their families, as well as identifying people in the community who can help them during their visit to Baton Rouge. We are also exploring networking opportunities for them to meet other patients and their families to learn more about the experience of coming to The Feldman Institute for their care. Our goal is to truly make this a very comforting, healthy, restful experience for all that results in patients returning home feeling significantly better than when they left.
Q: Where do you see concierge medicine and medical tourism in the United States headed in the future?
AF: Concierge medicine and medical tourism in the United States is destined to become a standard of care. I think we are at its tipping point and believe healthcare reform will further fuel demand.
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