Having international accreditation is seen by many as an important asset in any hospital's ability to attract medical tourists.
Joint Commission International (JCI) offers hospitals the opportunity to meet American standards. However, Dr. Derick Pasternak, JCI's Middle East Managing Director stated that although a factor, medical tourism isn't a major consideration for healthcare providers looking to become accredited.
'[Medical tourism] is an appealing reason, but by no means the reason why hospitals want to become accredited,' he said. 'Hospitals who aren't looking to be targeted for medical tourism have also applied for accreditation and achieved it,' he added.
Pasternak did admit that accreditation might sway a health traveller to a certain hospital, but indicated that there were more important issues involved.
'For medical tourists it's the diploma that's the important thing, but for most of the other things that drive hospitals to the accreditation process it's not really the diploma, and these hospitals recognise that,' he said. 'The majority of hospitals are not targets of medical tourism. There's a larger number looking to become accredited because they value the process they go through because it eventually becomes part of their routine management,' he added.
It's this practice of introducing standardised management protocols in hospitals that Pasternak believes is the driving force behind hospitals going through the accreditation process. Moreover its putting these protocols into practice, rather than the certification itself that will determine whether a hospital will become successful.