Medical Travel & Health Tourism Blog | myMEDholiday

For Patients from GCC Countries, Bangkok’s Bumrungrad International Hospital Delivers Exceptional Support

For Patients from GCC Countries, Bangkok’s Bumrungrad International Hospital Delivers Exceptional Support



Photo credited to Bumrungrad International Hospital

In our last post we discussed some of the things that make Bumrungrad International Hospital (BIH) the world leader for medical tourists, including how it provides special support to patients from overseas.  And there are plenty of them, from all over the world, seeking all kinds of care – over 400,000 expats, tourists, and medical tourists from 190 countries visit every year to receive world-class treatments.

So how does a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand manage such a large and truly international customer base?  It turns out that “the 4 Cs” are what it’s all about.

BIH prides itself on “the 4 Cs” that it offers patients – they being communication, convenience, comfort, and coordination – and when took a private tour of the hospital’s outstanding facilities, we asked our cheery English-speaking guide to elaborate on that philosophy.  Without hesitation, her opinion was that international patients valued “communication” most.

And she should know, being a customer service representative in the busy front lobby of one of the best hospitals in Thailand, and, in fact, in all of Asia.  Her job includes assisting foreign visitors so they are comfortable with the process of being a medical patient overseas: speaking English, calling on translators (available in 12 languages), sometimes simply smiling and escorting them where they need to go.

Photo credited to Bumrungrad International Hospital

Some of the busiest translators at BIH are the ones speaking Arabic, largely due to the fact that the hospital treats over 120,000 patients from GCC countries (Gulf Cooperation Council) annually, which amounts to a surprising 12% of all patients.  As a result, there are special services available to them on the 10th floor of the hospital’s clinic building.

That’s where you’ll find the Sky Lobby which features a modern business center manned by agents assisting patients of all types with hotel bookings, onward air travel, sightseeing tours, local transportation, and the like; and a relaxing mezzanine with four international restaurants overlooking the action: Japanese, Thai, American, and we suspect a very busy Lebanese spot.

Photo credited to Bumrungrad International Hospital

Because just off of the Sky Lobby is the hospital’s Medical Coordination Office, providing consultation and support for the large number of mostly Arabic-speaking patients from Middle Eastern markets.  It is clean, quiet, and comfortable, and includes seven doctors, seventeen nurses, and several customer service representatives – many of whom speak Arabic fluently – to help schedule procedures, attend to logistical questions for patients and family, orchestrate follow-up plans, and much more for the large numbers of Bumrungrad’s GCC guests.

Photo credited to Bumrungrad International Hospital

They could be patients from Kuwait who arrive at BIH with their medical history – but no appointment – and who need to coordinate treatment and speak to doctors; they could be from Qatar, at Bumrungrad for important heart care, but unable to communicate with a non-Arabic speaking cardiologist; or, they could be one of the steady stream of patients that come from the U.A.E.’s Armed Forces or Oman’s Royal Police – two of many GCC-based organizations with special contracts with Bumrungrad – who require help navigating the process.

The Medical Coordination Office also helps GCC patients with medical records transfer, handling of visa extensions, arranging return trips when follow-ups or extended treatments are required, negotiating with the patient’s home government – which may not always grant permission for patients to go abroad for care – when a routine health check up reveals something requiring immediate attention, and coordinating with a patient’s embassy – in the case of the Dubai soldier or Omani policeman – for bill payment.

And the patient experience at Bumrungrad extends beyond the customer service desk, consultation room, and operating table.  The Medical Coordination Office is integral in creating a pleasant experience for the scores of Muslim patients through the provision of Halal foods, an Arabic restaurant, a prayer room, Arabic TV channels, and, during Ramadan, nighttime prayer activities and group “Iftar”: the evening meal at sunset when the devout break their fast.

As the Northern summer approaches, the hospital gears up for the wave of individuals from GCC countries who will head to BIH for simple health screenings and complex care.  Some will contact BIH directly, some will go through the website’s email, and some will make special arrangements with their embassy or employer.  But once on site, all will experience the excellent communications and special coordination efforts which ensure a successful visit, and which keeps them coming back for more.