Level of standards and care
Medical tourism is a relatively new industry that has rapidly expanded based on the realization that international patients are willing to travel from their country of origin to seek out better, cheaper and/or more immediate healthcare services. These procedures may also not be available in their homeland.
Most importantly, for an industry to continue to thrive, the industry must become regulated in order to establish acceptable standards and protect the consumer. In the medical tourism business, hospital certification by an external agency assures an expected standard of care. It is a promise to the patient that acceptable hygiene, patient safety and levels of care are maintained in an institution. A chosen hospital or clinic overseas must meet certain global standards of medical care in order to continue offering services to patients.
It is reassuring for those seeking medical treatment in Cuba to know that the clinics and hospitals are accredited by both international and government agencies.
Various systems throughout the world are in place to ensure rigorous specifications for patient safety. Accreditation certifies that internationally accepted standards of hygiene, work-place security, environment and general quality control have been met by the institution.
What is hospital accreditation?
Hospital accreditation is a process whereby a healthcare institution voluntarily submits to an investigation of its facilities and standards by an external agency recognized by the International Society for Quality (ISQua).
Hospital accreditation seeks to optimize the quality of healthcare delivery and reduce risks associated with medical malpractice. ISQua is the overarching industry regulator which devises and develops standards for healthcare professionals and institutions. These standards have been adopted by recognized accreditation agencies throughout the world.
Across the globe there are many international and national accreditation agencies. These agencies act as industry watchdog by ensuring the regulations and standards are continually met. Some of the most well known accreditation agencies around the world include URAC (U.S.A.), Joint Commission International (U.S.A.), Accreditation Canada International (Canada), Bureau Veritas (Global), ACHS of Australia, AENOR, TEMOS (Germany), Healthnet International (India) and ANAES (France).
The two agencies responsible for hospital accreditation in Cuba are the Bureau Veritas, an international accreditation agency, and the Cuban National Bureau of Standardization (ONN). In addition, the Ministry of Health (MINSAP) oversees all hospitals and clinics on the Island. These accreditation organizations have partnered with international hospitals, clinics, research institutions, academia, government ministries of health, non-governmental organizations and international institutions to ensure the implementation of strict compliance standards.
Bureau Veritas is an international accreditation agency founded in the 19th century, with headquarters in France. This organization is responsible for clinic and hospital accreditation in Cuba. Bureau Veritas has investigated and certified that each hospital it has investigated in Cuba measures up to international standards and practices.
There are several ways to deliver a first class healthcare system to the patient. Bureau Veritas focuses on the practical aspects of certification. This agency has a strong international profile. Certification by Bureau Veritas is an indicator of top quality service delivery. It specializes in the testing and inspection of medical facilities and equipment to ensure optimal performance.
The Cira Garcia International Clinic is one of the most popular hospitals in Havana for diplomats and tourists. Cira Garcia has been certified by both Bureau Veritas and the ONN. This can be easily verified on their website.
It is imperative that a traveling patient do background research prior to traveling overseas for medical treatment. The patient should not only research the doctor/surgeon who will provide the care, but also validate the accreditation of a healthcare institution beforehand. Doing so not only guarantees value for money, but it also provides a sense of assurance.
Traveling overseas isn’t cheap, and for those who can afford to do so, the expectation is for flawless foreign medical intervention without the worry of “is the hospital safe?” Hospital accreditation in Cuba assures the patient the institution with the medical program he/she desires has been evaluated and meets up with international standards of care.