Svitlana Filonova - Director of the «Med Advisor» company:
«The task of my company is to make it easier for patients to treat and stay in a foreign country. Nobody wants to be ill and nobody wants their close people to be ill. But if it is happening, the first thing that everybody are trying to do - to quickly find a quality assistance in their country, what unfortunately, mostly is really difficult to do»
Tell us please the history of the company «Med Advisor». How did you decide to create a medical tourism agency?
Everything turned out somehow by itself. My father was ill and treatment in Ukraine was unsuccessful. But in Turkey, doctors coped with the problem safely. My friend, at that time, who had a similar situation with her sister, phoned me for a help. That time, we were still in Turkey with my father. I consulted with local doctors, and then, having certain experience, I helped her with the arrival and organizational issues. Already when we flew away, the girl had a successful operation. Further, worked the principle of «word of mouth»: relatives, friends, friends of friends, and then strangers began to call me.
This was the beginning of my work.
Why did you choose the Turkish direction for the provision of treatment services abroad? What can modern healthcare in Turkey offer to its foreign patients?
It is obvious that medical tourists go abroad for the opportunities and comfort that they cannot get at home. This modern equipment, the latest methods of treatment, the level of training of the doctors. For all these indicators, Turkey has already caught up with German and Israeli medicine, often remaining almost half the price. As you can see, a similar balance of price and quality looks extremely tempting.
Turkey is treating patients according to the diagnostic and treatment protocols adopted in the United States, many local specialists were trained there, and Turkish clinics most often accredited by the international expert committee JCI. And it turns out that in medical treatment Turkey - is an opportunity to get the American level of services with much more lower prices than in America.
However, to be able to fully use this unique resource, competent support is often needed.
It is not a secret that today there is a lot of competition in the medical tourism services segment. How do you surprise your customers? What unexpected bonuses do your medical tourists get?
Personally faced with all of the difficulties of communication and treatment abroad, I know very well how important it is to have a trained assistant. MedTurism does not leave it's patients and staying together with them during the all stages of treatment.
Unfortunately, many companies in the field of medical tourism do not provide an assistant for the entire period of treatment and rehabilitation, although they declare the opposite. This system works differently for them. Mostly, they meet patient in the airport, bring him to the hospital and leaving. In some companies, there are indeed so-called representatives, but they do not pay enough attention to the patient, being limited in time or providing advices exclusively online. MedTurism currently focuses only on one country – Turkey, and I personally deal with each patient, helping in everything, down to the smallest detail, so that a patient can concentrate on the treatment as much as possible without any additional stress. Due to the warm relations with partners, our patients are given discounts on certain procedures.
Among the clinics with which you are working, there are both public and private? How do you choose hospitals that you can trust your clients?
There are more JCI-accredited medical institutions in Turkey than in any other country in the world. Today, the state is recognized as competitive and high-tech in the field of medical care.
We are working with the largest private clinics in Turkey, which provide the full range of medical and non-medical services at the highest level. Our partners are constantly developing, improving their equipment in accordance with the latest technologies, attach great importance to the safety of clients and clinic staff, all of them meet all the requirements and requests of patients. Moreover, our company is the official representative of all hospitals from the «Med Advisor» list.
What problems do customers from the CIS countries most often trying to treat? What services are most in demand?
Unfortunately, most often it is oncology. Here, like nowhere, the professionalism of the personnel and the level of technical equipment are on the fundamental importance. PET-CT, Da Vinci robot operations, gamma and cyber-knife… Turkey is ready to offer everything a patient is need with a wide range of innovative treatment methods.
Also, patients are coming for a treatment with problems in the field of orthopedics, neurosurgery, and cardiology. MedTurism Support Center receives a large number of couples who plan to undergo an IVF procedure. Turkish clinics demonstrate a high efficiency in this matter.
What is the procedure for organizing treatment in Turkey, and is it possible to organize a trip on your own without assistance?
Minimum, you will need a knowledge of English language, and even better the Turkish. By choosing a clinic, I would recommend focusing on JCI accreditation, treatment statistics, training of medical staff and the level of technical equipment specifically for your problem. When you are going to register for a consultation, you need to be very careful from not to get to the site of unscrupulous intermediaries which issuing themselves for the site of a hospital.
If the patient decide to use our help, then it is enough for him or her to call or leave a request on the website after which our coordinator will contact a doctor whom specializing in relevant issues. On the one hand - he will be able to take into account all the nuances of the patient particular situation as much as possible, and on the other - knowing the offer at the market, our coordinator will be able to help to make the best choice of the clinic. In the nearest couple of days you will be offered the best treatment regimen.
You can stay in Turkey without a visa for 90 days within a three months, if you have a longer treatment you must obtain Ikamet (residence permit). On the website of the Turkish Migration Service you will need to answer a number of questions and sign up for a specific date for interview. You will need to have an official confirmation of service in a particular clinic, couple of photos, medical insurance and passport (original and copies, the last date of issue and the stamp of the last visit to Turkey). Generally, at this stage it is already possible to plan and book air plane tickets.
Can you tell us please, how the formation of individual medical programs are preparing for your clients?
The specialist of the selected clinic gets acquainted with the patient's medical document package, which the MedTurism coordinator gave to him. In some cases, additional examinations and tests are required to draw up a proper treatment plan. Within a maximum five days, we receive a response from the clinic chosen by the patient, and we provide the optimal treatment plan considering, among other things, the patient’s wishes, his or her state of health and, of course, financial possibilities. By the way, in Ankara hospitals there are various payment systems that are also important to consider.
What will you say to people who do not believe in treatment abroad by thinking that all medical services can be obtained in their homeland? In what cases do you advise to not reject the help of doctors from other countries?
I believe that this is the matter of a personal choice. I do not have the right to decide for a patients or to convince them that they can find help here. During three years of work in the field of medical tourism, I have faced different situations, people and opinions. Each one of us has own vision and solution of existing problems and only we can decide whom we are going to trust our own health.