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Dr. Tricia Johnson: Medical Travel into the U.S.

Associate Chair of the Graduate Program in Health Systems Management at Rush University, Dr. Tricia Johnson, studies a form of medical tourism that is not commonly discussed. Her work concentrates on medical travel into the United States. She was recently named one of the researchers awarded a grant by the United States Department of Commerce to study medical tourism into the U.S.

Patients travel from over the world to receive care in US hospitals, especially tertiary and quaternary care at the leading academic medical centers. Dr. Johnson identifies the brand of the United States around the world as one reason for this phenomenon. She believes United States healthcare is viewed as very high quality across the globe, with professional teams, clinical leadership and quality outcomes based on measurements.

In this interview, Dr. Johnson discusses the development of United States Cooperative for International Patient Programs (USCIPP), a network of academic medical centers in the U.S. formed to share best practices, identify and resolve challenges associated with international patients in U.S. hospitals.

Dr. Johnson also talks about the emerging trend within the US of patients traveling from one location to another to receive care, based on guidance from their employer based health insurance plans. This recent development known as, “domestic medical travel” is based on the search for value. Certain medical centers that are known for success in particular procedures or treatments can demonstrate greater value, and will attract health insurance plans and consumers.

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