Healthcare Travel Regulations

Groups upholding global healthcare regulations

With the growth of medical tourism, national and international healthcare groups are promoting worldwide healthcare travel regulations. The U.S. Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) along with International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) are working to construct a significant and effectual medical regulatory system, one that attends to the fast transforming healthcare practice, technologies and medical delivery procedures in the world.

The IAMRA started in 2002 and presently consists of 74 member groups representing 29 countries. Their website states that it intends to uphold global medical regulatory authorities and safeguard public interest by advocating high standards for educating doctors, granting licenses, creating guidelines and assisting in the ongoing sharing of information between medical regulatory establishments.

The United States is a participant of the International Health Regulations (IHRs) of World Health Organization (WHO). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the IHRs as providing an established code of conduct for community health crises of global concern. They also focus on vital community health hazards that are capable of extending outside the borders of a country to other parts of the globe. According to WHO, 194 countries have been participants of the IHRAs since February 5, 2008.

There are many local healthcare regulators in countries like:
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
This is in addition to groups responsible for healthcare travel regulations. But as yet, there are no international regulations for medical tourism.

Local healthcare travel Regulations

Regulations regarding healthcare travel in India

The Quality Council of India presented the standards for the Quality and Wellness Industry on September 17, 2008.

The Standards for Health and Wellness are a series of regulations that are relevant for accredited health care and wellness groups who provide medical tourism services in India. This launch is regarded as a very significant growth, as it will establish universal reliability for the health and wellness industry in India.

This accreditation will now act as guarantor for quality services provided by a dependable, secure and quality conscious worker to the client who wants the best.

The Standards for Health and Wellness accreditation, must consider a range of standard requirements for suppliers of wellness service regarding:
  • technology
  • skilled manpower
  • infrastructure
  • consumer protection
  • procedures and controls

Amongst several other statutory & regulatory conformities, these standards will set strict regulations for service contributors acquiring full accreditation for all the services they provide.

Healthcare travel regulations in Malaysia


The Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) is an autonomous, non-profit group actively operating along with healthcare experts to assure safety and constant improvement in quality of healthcare travel services offered by healthcare amenities in Malaysia.

3rd Version of MSQH Hospital Accreditation Standards MSQH standards are created and edited with assistance from professionals of public and private healthcare suppliers. Malaysian Hospital Accreditation Standards cover the following areas:
  • Organisation and Administration
  • Human Resource and Administration
  • Guidelines and Processes
  • Amenities and Equipment
  • Activities for Quality Enhancement
  • Protection

For more information, visit: The Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH)

Regulation for healthcare travel in Thailand


The Institute of Hospital Quality Improvement and Accreditation appraises and sanctions every registered medical facility providing healthcare travel services in Thailand.

Hospital and Healthcare services Standards 2006 - Institute of Hospital Quality Improvement and Accreditation consider:

The categories under Main Hospital Systems
  • Hazard, protection and excellence
  • Proficient Management
  • Ecological Management
  • Contamination, prevention and control
  • Healthcare record system
  • Healthcare system
  • Healthcare laboratory system
  • Radiological system
  • Perform with communities
  • Patient Care Procedures

The categories under Patient Care Procedures
  • Entrance
  • Patient Appraisal
  • Preparation for care and discharge
  • Care Providing
  • Empowerment of Patient and Family
  • Constant Care
For more information, visit: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTTHAILAND/Resources/learning-from-asia.ppt (Power Point presentation).


Regulations for medical tourism in the Philippines


The minimum requirements for accreditation of Tertiary Hospitals for Healthcare Travel:
The hospital used for medical tourism should be situated in a pleasant environment and the architecture and general structure of the building should possess the distinguishing qualities of a tertiary hospital. It should provide private and suite rooms with telephone facilities, refrigerator, cable television and 24 hour room service.

It should have a reception, information counter and a guest relation office providing 24-hour service, a 24 hour porter service, foreign exchange counter, public phone facilities, safe left-luggage room, a secured deposit box and a business center having office equipment, secretarial service and mailing facilities.

Every room should have three rubbish bins - biodegradable, non biodegradable and infectious wastes. There should be a sundries shop, an elevator, a parking area, 24 hour security and a central circuit television in the hospital.
The hospital for healthcare travel should provide Limousine facility, airport transport and air ambulance facility on request. There should be a computerized billing system and credit card payment should be possible.

Also the staff should be qualified, trained, experienced, competent and polite. It should also provide an interpreter fluent in Nihonggo, Mandarin, Korean, Cantonese, etc. and accessible on request.
All divisions at the hospital should be suitably maintained at all times.
The Certificate of Accreditation is valid for 2 years from the date of issue and can be renewed on or before the expiry date.

Supervision
During supervision, the inspection team checks if the hospital is run according to the standards of the Department. If some defects and deficiencies are found during Inspection, and the management is unsuccessful in rectifying those deficiencies within the given time, the Department will withdraw or cancel the Certificate of Accreditation of the hospital.

For further reading, visit: http://www.wowphilippines.com.ph/dot/med_tr_rr.pdf (PDF file).