In the context of medical tourism, cultural differences and language barriers are unneglectable factors which compromise the shared decision making between doctor and patients.
This study constructs a cultural sensitivity cultivation model (CSC) that could be used to train medical professionals in the sector of medical tourism.
Since 2016, there have been explorations in new strategies to offer better services. A critical step added is to include clients’ perspectives in the re-examining process as a way to cultivate cultural sensitivity among the service providers. This practice expands to the sector of medical tourism. In our case study, we are able to conclude a new model that could yield quality international healthcare services.
The steps of our Cultural Sensitivity Cultivation (CSC) Model include 1. “Promote Awareness” for shifting mindset, 2. “Share Scenarios” for developing empathy and compassion, 3. “Review Process” for collecting detail feedback, 4. “Identify Gaps” for targeting areas for improvement, and 5. “Improve Systems,” for changing standard operation procedures (SOPs) based on the strategies through Assmann’s theory with a cultural-anthropological approach.
After KTGH implemented the new model for one year, the number of international patients has increased by 64%. More research could be done in the future to cover all the important aspects of providing international medical services and could apply the CSC model to different healthcare settings.
To optimize the shared decision making between the doctor and medical traveler-patients, healthcare providers should not only overcome language and cultural barriers but also should avoid unnecessary gestures in terms of status respect. Inviting patients to be coinvestigator for quality improvement is a viable solution.