“Most patients traveling for medical reasons perform adequate research on the physician and facility that will actually provide service. The next important steps are to research a safe, efficient and professional means to travel both to and from.”
Maria L. interviewed Seth Bacon, CEO of Trinity Air Medical. In this interview Seth talks about the different options for air travel when travelling for medical purposes.
As an expert in medical transportation and travel, what advice would you give patients traveling for medical tourism purposes as regards international transportation? What are the key elements they should never overlook when contracting medical transportation services?
Medical tourism is absolutely a growing industry. Most patients perform adequate research on the physician and facility that will actually provide service. The next important steps are to research a safe, efficient and professional means to travel both to and from. Also consider travel insurance for the trip.
One of the most important elements is to first establish what type of medical transportation service level is required. Critical care air ambulance or medical escort services. Ask yourself, family or even a physician the following questions.
What are the patient’s’ medical and supportive travel needs? If the patient needs to be lying down continuously during travel or has multiple IV medications for blood pressure or sedation, an air ambulance is probably most effective. However if the patient does not require that level of care, a qualified medical escort company can be researched.
How many total travelers? How much luggage will be brought along? Does the patient require his own wheelchair or walker ? These are important logistics to consider because air ambulance providers typically cannot accommodate more than 2 family ride alongs, one small carry-on and unfortunately no room for a personal wheelchair. However, these items can be managed with medical escort although a plan does need to be prepared.
For air ambulance, I would ask: Are they a broker or actual medical provider? Are they CAMTS accredited? CAMTS accredited companies have undergone a thorough review of their operations. What type of aircraft do they operate? For example a twin turbo prop versus a light jet has a much different flight time. What type of ground transportation services can they offer specifically for your needs? What is their final breakdown of cost and is it all inclusive of every leg of travel?
For medical escort, I would ask: What supportive equipment will the clinician be bringing? Some companies supply very minimal supportive equipment. Ask if they bring their own AED, Portable Oxygen Concentrator, ECG, Pulse Oximetry, Non-invasive blood pressure cuff, soft goods and IV supplies for medication administration. Do they perform complete ground and air logistics? Do they reserve business or first class seating? Is the commercial flight non-stop? What type of ground transportation is provided? Is the clinician provided a per diem to buy the patient and family food and drinks? Is the cost of services all inclusive of every leg of travel?
These are some of the questions I would ask any medical transportation provider. Shop around, it may be easier than you think. Make sure you feel comfortable with the manner in which they treat you and your call. There is no substitute for safety and quality clinical care blended with amazing customer service.
What kind of patients may benefit from your services?
Any person who needs assistance in traveling can contact Trinity Air Medical. For years the only method of long range patient transportation was critical care air ambulance. However only 25% of patients that travel via air ambulance are truly critical. Thus the greater majority of patients are encouraged to utilize medical escort services. Trinity Air Medical can provide worldwide medical escort services that are comfortable, safe, cost effective and more luxurious amenities than air ambulance can provide.
Services can include basic chaperone or travel companion. Most often we are asked to provide 1 or 2 clinicians for a patient that may be wheelchair dependent, require oxygen, vitals monitored and medicines administered.
How does your organization deal with cross cultural communication and linguistic barriers in international settings?
Great question. In our experience, approximately 30-40% of our medical transportation services are international. Thus the responsibility is upon us to select the best and most appropriate clinician to provide care and manage the actual transportation process. We encourage a hiring process that recognizes and encourages these much needed diversities. It is crucial to have a workforce that is multicultural, bilingual and from various working backgrounds.
Our care givers are Respiratory Therapists, Paramedics, Nurses, Physician Assistants and Physicians. Work experience includes hospitals, critical care air ambulance, fire departments or small rural clinics. Thus our pool to select the best most qualified and appropriate care giver for the patient is a wonderful attribute here at Trinity.
Our support team also understands the dynamics of international services and communicates every single detail to all parties to prevent any potential setbacks.
We believe the best way to manage any cross cultural communication or linguistic barrier is through the hard work of our support team prior to transport and continuous information exchange with clinician and family.
For how long has Trinity Air Medical been providing patients with air transportation services?
Trinity Air Medical has been providing air medical transportation services for over 1 year. Our management team has over 70 years combined medical transportation experience and a vision to provide a much needed and better service delivery. Our mission, ”We believe in a better way of helping those traveling with medical needs.”
What are the main differences between Trinity Air Medical and other Air transport providers/ services?
We believe the biggest difference is our high emphasis on providing exceptional customer service. Trinity Air Medical was founded on concepts of providing a better customer centered experience. Our employees were hand selected and we were the first air medical company to advertise our clinicians whom provide care with their picture, background and bios.
Next, we do the extra logistical efforts that most do not. Trinity Air Medical’s team provides complete logistics, medical care and coordination. Our Nursing Director and Medical Director perform a team review of every single transport request. Travel coordinators spend the extra time with customers to find out what type of arrangements, needs for travel, number of people, or best mode of transportation is important for a stress free experience. Every complete detail is then emailed to all parties so family members or travelers know exactly what to expect and the time of each step.
Finally, our skilled clinicians and supporting staff possess an unmatched attention to detail. Quite often we are provided testimonials with quotes from patients and family members who say we were over prepared or exceptionally nice and generous. Our cost effective savings to customers with an unmatched positive customer service experience is our goal.