Doctor and patient (illustrative)..
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The Israel Medical Association and the Israeli Chambers of Commerce’s Medical Tourism Association signed on Monday a joint ethical code, as medical tourism in the country is a NIS 1.5 billion industry and can involve abuses.
IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said the level of medicine here and the reputation of physicians are very good.
“They can turn Israel into a world power in the field and contribute to exports similar to that of the most advanced countries,” he said. “The health system, which suffers from a lack of resources, could become stronger and benefit Israelis.”
Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of the Israeli Chambers of Commerce, called on the country to adopt a policy of expanding medical tourism to improve the hospitals and give better service to local patients.
He predicted that it can be expanded to NIS 5b. within three years.
The new ethical code sets down rules for the treatment of foreigners who come for medical treatment; suiting the treatments to their medical condition; checking their ability to be helped even before they arrive; giving suitable explanations in a language they understand; setting fair prices; and giving high-quality care so the medical system’s reputation remains protected.
Mark Katzenelson, chairman of the Medical Tourism Association, said the document has set down clear rules for a new and development economic field.
The code was prepared with the help of senior physicians, lawyers, experts in the field of medicine, social organizations, representatives of companies in the medical field and voluntary organizations. Tourism companies, hospitals, doctors and others involved will be bound to observe the code. It is also expected to protect Israeli patients as well.
Income from medical tourism today comprises 0.7% of hospital budgets, while the patients are 2% of all tourists entering the country. Income from medical tourism enables hospitals to buy new equipment and improve facilities.