Best Practices for the Patient Experience: What is in your Welcome Package?

By Elizabeth Ziemba, President, Medical Tourism Training

Whether preparing for the arrival of a patient or business visitor, a Welcome Package is a key ingredient for a successful stay. A Welcome Package – thoughtfully planned – is an excellent opportunity to impress.

What is in your Welcome Package?

Having received many Welcome Packages as a business visitor and having helped hospitals and clinics create such packages, I can say that there is enormous variety in the quality of those packages. Some hospitals and clinics do not offer any official welcome. Why create a Welcome Package and what should it do?

A well-designed Welcome Package should accomplish two primary goals – make the person feel welcome and provide important information to make the visit go more smoothly. The Welcome Package provide by Hospital Clinica de Occidente, Cali, Colombia when I arrived at the hotel exhausted and hungry after 20 hours of travel time, is one of the best I have ever seen. It made me feel very welcome and helped to organize my two-day visit, optimizing my time.

How a hospital or clinic makes a patient or visitor “feel” welcome is an opportunity to express the personality of the host and be creative. This Welcome Package from the international patient department at Clinica de Occidente was a welcome sight! The bottle of water and an apple were immediately consumed. So was the piece of delicious Colombian chocolate. The flower arrangement with chocolate covered strawberries was an extra special touch.

Two folders of information from the hospital contained a variety of information including a personalized agenda with all details for the following two days. The agenda included the time and name of the driver who would be picking me up, meeting places, and names of people who would be at the meetings. Similar agendas are regularly prepared for patients who will arrive at the hospital for testing, treatments, and other services.

Information included 24-hour emergency phone numbers, common phases in Spanish and English, and an appointment card to record procedures or tests and dates of treatment to record all activities at the hospital. Brochures included various services available at the hospital such as preventive treatments. A wrist band with emergency contact information is also provided.

Hospital Clinica de Occidente receives many international patients coming for cancer treatments. To celebrate these clients, the package includes items I have never seen before – a diploma and medal for each patient who successfully completes his or her oncology treatments. What a terrific idea!

A “Welcome Package” should always contain something to take home. In addition to the hospital’s brochures, a sturdy, reusable and washable tote bag with the hospital’s logo on it is the perfect take-away to carry the souvenirs home.

Keep improving!

Remember to keep improving the contents of your “Welcome Package”.

As your patients and visitors what other items could have made their stay easier. They will give you some good ideas and be happy that you asked.

This “Best in Class” is well deserved. Congratulations to Dr. Maria Cecilia Aponte and the team at the international patient department at Clinica de Occidente!

Want to improve your patient experience? Medical Tourism Training provides consulting and training services designed to grow your health travel organization. Contact us today!

About the author:

Elizabeth Ziemba, MPH JD is President of Medical Tourism Training Inc, a training, consulting, assessment, and accreditation consultancy, She is cohost of The Medical Travel Show, a serial podcast on medical travel topics. Contact her at


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Elizabeth Ziemba

Elizabeth Ziemba

President at Medical Tourism Training
With a diverse background in public health, law and business, Elizabeth brings a unique set of skills and experience to Medical Tourism Training with services including assessment tools, online and onsite training, workshops, and consulting services for governments, providers, facilitators, associations and others involved in medical travel.