Measuring the ROI of JCI Accreditation for Medical Tourism Providers

Can you accurately measure the ROI of JCI Accreditation in medical tourism advertising and promotion?

While JCI use to be exclusive, you would now place yourself among hundreds of competitors who have found that to attempt to use JCI’s logo to represent a medical tourism readiness and expect the accreditation to draw market share, didn’t generate the ROI they expected in medical tourism clientele.

Return on Investment (ROI) means that there is a financial return. If no traceable revenue was generated as a result of the marketing effort, there is no ROI.  Make sure that if you embark on the path of accreditation, that you are doing it for the sake of safety and quality, and not just for bandwagon appeal.
Consider this for a moment: If you submitted your organization for an accreditation survey under any ISQua-accredited program or Planetree designation or similar, can you pinpoint the exact revenue gained because of it?

What if you chose a different one?

What if you had none

Have you surveyed the patients to ask them why they chose your hospital without prompting them for any response whatsoever?  No checklists, no tick boxes, no guiding rails to suggest one reason over any other as to why they chose you – just an opened ended option for them to fill in a blank?

Many medical tourism destination hospital administrators I chat with tell me that they have been told that in order to be eligible to contract with U.S. insurance plans and employer-sponsored health plans, that JCI accreditation is “required” as threshold criteria.

Who told you that and which contracts can they produce as evidence to back up their assertion?  Can they show you fifty contracts that require this? It is important that you evaluate what you hear on this topic by applying some critical thinking.

I have a copy of thousands of managed care agreements from U.S. health plans. I have them because I have negotiated them on behalf of hospitals and physicians nationwide over the last 25 years.  I haven’t found one that requires JCI or even Joint Commission, per se.  I challenge you to prove me wrong with examples of at least 50 contracts. That will equate to perhaps .0005% of the contracts on the street.

Cross-border healthcare has been ongoing for more than 10 years in Southern California with health plans that specifically include and require care to be delivered in Mexico. JCI is not a requirement of these plans, nor was it ever.  The payers include Blue Shield, HealthNet and more recently Aetna and CIGNA.  The former two report that statistically, quality is not an issue nor is patient satisfaction; in fact, patient satisfaction is higher than their stateside plans.

When a hospital advertises that it is JCI accredited, what does that mean to the recipient of the marketing message, really?

For the most part, nothing.  In order to register with the recipient of the message one has to consider the following:

1.     If they were not listening carefully for it, it may not register.

2.     If they don’t know what JCI is, it is a meaningless reference.

3.     If they never read an article referencing JCI, they have no clue what it stands for.

Are you using “JCI” as a shorthand reference to imply you render high-quality and safe care?

Strengthen your brand by creating awareness and enhancing perception so others will want to refer to you and patients will want to utilize your servicesIncrease revenues through promotion of the appropriate services to the appropriate target markets via the appropriate delivery mechanismsIncrease marketing efficiencies, since you will not be wasting marketing resources on programs that do not have appeal to your target market.  Why lose the opportunity to say what you mean and associate your true qualities with your own brand?

Instead of propping up someone else’s brand by using their name, why not share a message that says you deliver high-quality, safe patient care? Associate those words with your own brand!

Have you ever read someone else’s notes when they wrote in conventional shorthand or their own note hand?  Unless you have been trained to understand the symbolism it is meaningless scribble. Just look at computer code for CSS or XHTML for a reality check. Hand the code to someone who knows as much about computer programing as the average patient knows about hospital quality and safety. Enough said!

Does your audience understand the meaning of JCI or another national or international hospital accreditation what it is … and what it isn’t?

Most entry-level and even many experienced medical tourism facilitators don’t understand this themselves. Instead, they echo what others say like a parrot, and many even associate attributes to accreditation that do not exist. Most have never read the accreditation standards for themselves and assume it has some correlation to readiness for medical tourism client reception.  That could not be farther from the truth!

Consider this: If the facilitators who represent your brand do not understand international hospital accreditation, they could be misrepresenting your brand. This can cause serious brand damage by setting clients up for unreasonable and unrealistic expectations, ultimately leading to brand damage for which they may or may not have insurance to cover in the event that they damage your brand. Have you checked to determine if they are insured for their actions if they significantly damage your brand enough to warrant legal action to restore you and make you whole?

It is absolutely essential that you determine and put in place the tracking system and metrics, including key performance indicators in advance of the marketing effort.  Any preparation for JCI or other hospital accreditation is going to have significant cost tags associated with the training, filing fees, consultation, and staff readiness. Make sure that before you choose any accreditation survey program, you are 1) doing it for the right reasons (quality assurance, quality improvement, and patient safety) and 2) if you are doing it for the sake of marketing, that you can make quantifiable measurements to enable a true ROI analysis.

Mercury Healthcare International contracts with insurers and employers to provide globally-integrated healthcare delivery to expatriate and traveling employees worldwide.  Mercury Healthcare does not give preference to any international hospital accreditation over another. Hospitals, clinics, ambulatory surgical facilities, ambulance and other providers are welcome to join our network. We conduct an independent assessment that measures quality, safety and customer service.  Our assessment includes many of the same metrics used by all hospital quality and safety accreditation surveys in addition to language fluencies and customer service elements.

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