ITIC Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, is almost here! The ITIJ team spoke to keynote speaker Carlos Eduardo Jurado and Executive Committee member Juan Felipe Santos of ANDI – The National Business Association of Colombia, who will be sharing their insights into the Colombian Healthcare sector with the international travel & health insurance community at the conference.
How do you think international insurance providers can better manage their network needs in the region?
We believe that an important step is to identify the needs of its users, not only based in the medical needs, also, to identify their culture and traditions. Based on these needs, the insurer can create the appropriate network of healthcare providers and choose the best country and city for each need. Insurance companies must choose healthcare providers that support these needs and strengthen their network with the best medical facilities in the region.
We suggest that the three main requirements that the insurance companies should consider from healthcare providers are quality accreditation, a team trained to attend the needs of the international patients and the language.
Are healthcare providers in LATAM showing more of an interest in international accreditation?
Yes, the healthcare providers in LATAM are improving their services and infrastructure to grant a quality accreditation like JCI, Temos and others. In the case of Colombia, also, they are interested in local quality accreditations granted by the Ministry of Health and Icontec, which is an entity accredited by ISQua (The International Society for Quality in Health Care).
For Colombian health providers, international quality accreditations are very important, because it is the opportunity to attend patients with the same quality standards of US and Europe, offer better health services with international standards, establish good practices in patient safety and the use of advanced medical technology and infrastructure.
In addition, the good positioning of Colombian hospitals and clinics in LATAM rankings shows the importance of quality accreditation implementation by the Colombian health providers. We invite you to see the Hospital Ranking published by AmericaEconomia magazine
What can international payers do to enhance business relationships between medical providers and insurers?
In order to enhance the commercial relationship, according to the Colombian experience, we suggest:
- Build trust between medical providers and insurers.
- Transparent pricing and timely payments.
- Ensure that services and patients are scheduled, to be prepared.
- Contract models adapted to the characteristics and needs of each actor (Hospital, patient and Insurer Company).
- Include preventive health models for patients, to prevent corrective hospitalizations. For example, make executive health exams and periodic monitoring.
- Correct flow of information between all actors involved.
Is it realistic for international payers to access local prices for healthcare services?
The prices of healthcare services in Colombia are lower around 25-30% compared to the US and 10%-15% lower than other countries in Latin America such as Chile and Brazil. Our prices are very competitive with the same technology, quality standards and trained human resource.
We invite you to visit our website where you can find more information, identify the main healthcare providers in Colombia, and get in touch with the healthcare provider: https://www.colombiaturismodesalud.com/?lang=en
What are the key capabilities and qualities that make the Colombian health sector an attractive option for insurers seeking to provide high quality care to their policyholders?
Colombian medicine is recognized in Latin America and worldwide as a pioneer and leader in the provision of healthcare services, which has positioned the country as one of the most attractive destinations in terms of medical treatments. In fact, Colombia has been working for years in the consolidation and search for health services excellence, offering a highly competitive context and great strengths.
International patients can find in Colombia:
- High quality standards: which has an impact on patient safety.
- Technology and infrastructure: that allow to treat really complex patients.
- Medical staff trained in the main hospitals and universities in Colombia and the world.
- Physicians with international professional qualifications.
- Reasonable and affordable price, keeping the highest quality standards.
- Warm and friendly service.
- Innovation and research: the country has been a pioneer in diagnoses, treatments and surgeries.
- Medical treatment for specific diseases.
- Various hospitals across the country with different climate and temperature.
- No long waiting list for medical treatments.
- Touristic attractions.
Colombian healthcare providers have a good position in the LATAM ranking, where 26 Colombian clinics and hospitals are included among the 61 best in Latin America in 2021 and 5 are in the top 10 ranking. 54 hospitals and clinics have national health quality accreditation and 5 Joint Commission International accreditation.
What are you aiming to achieve in the long term for the Colombian health sector?
From our institution, we want to position Colombia as a medical destination for people seeking specialized medicine, with the best international quality standards, world class medical facilities, qualified medical staff, warm and friendly care, advanced technology, humanized service and high infrastructure for the international patient.
We participated in a public-private partnership between ANDI, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia and Procolombia (promotion agency), where we developed a business plan for the Medical Tourism Sector. We defined a schedule of activities to work initiatives that are divide into the following thematic: Strengthening and Promotion of Industry, Infrastructure, Regulatory Framework and the development of medical human resource.
Finally, we will continue to support small LATAM countries with medical care, where health services are precarious or insufficient.
What are the key points you wish to make for the international insurance, healthcare and assistance audience – what do they need to know about the Colombian health system that will help them in their day-to-day operations?
The Colombian health system is qualified as one of the most important in the world, because our health system offers 97,7% health coverage, covers almost all treatments and medications for all diseases and all of them with an annual rate of less than USD 800 per capita. In addition, the healthcare providers (hospitals and clinics) are ranked in the best positions in LATAM; they have national and international quality accreditations, world class medical facilities and highly professional staff.
Our hospitals and clinics have more than 40 years of experience attending international patients and working with the most important international insurers companies. We have all capabilities and services to support the day-to-day operations of the insurance companies. In addition, we have the government support to facilitate the operations for international patients.
About ANDI – Health Chamber
The National Association of Entrepreneurs of Colombia (ANDI), is a non-profit association, whose objective is to spread and promote the political, economic and social principles of a healthy free enterprise system. It was founded on September 11, 1944 in Medellín and, since then, it has been the most important business association in Colombia.
The Sectoral Chamber of Health was created by 11 entities on September 19, 2000 to represent the interests of the country’s private Health Provider Institutions. Today it is made up of 30 private Clinics and Hospitals of different levels of complexity, clinical laboratories, outpatient and home care, diagnostic imaging centers, among others.
Carlos Eduardo Jurado
Executive Director of Health Chamber
ITIC Americas Keynote Speaker
Experience of more than 10 years leading the strategy of positioning Colombia as a health destination for international patients, alliances between international hospitals, events, trade and referral missions, attention to international delegations and participation in international events promoting Colombia.
Juan Felipe Santos
Coordinator Health Chamber at National Business Association of Colombia
ITIC Americas Committee
Leads the strategy to promote the Colombian Medical Services in America region through events, trade missions, attention to international delegations and participation in international events. Creator of digital strategy focused on positioning Colombian Health Sector; show the quality of Colombian medical facilities, statistics and the sector overview. www.colombiaturismodesalud.com
ITIC Americas 2022 is taking place in Cartagena, Colombia – 5-8 March, and marks our 11th annual conference for the region. It’s where you can connect with partners and colleagues, hear from insightful speakers and join discussions that shape the future of our industry.
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