global case management, international case management, medical tourism, outsourcing



  1. Craig, Kathy MS, RN, CCM
  2. Beichl, Lisa MBA


Purpose: This article explains the current state of the global healthcare market with respect to international medical travel (medical tourism) and worldwide provider sourcing. Emphasis is placed on the traditional twin pillars of oversight: program accreditation and branding affiliation. These are discussed for their main strength, which is their ability to operate at a system-strata level. This strength also represents a primary weakness from the international patient's perspective, which is the functional gap between systemic oversight and bedside surveillance. International case management (ICM) is identified as the right conduit of patient-level service delivery that fills the gap between system and bedside. The ICM professional is introduced and defined as the provider of patient-centered quality and safety improvements, who coordinates and collaborates using international network connections and culture-sensitive in-country communication skills.


Primary practice setting(s): The article's information is useful for healthcare practitioners who want to learn about the global medical marketplace. Practitioners who are preparing to or who already have business enterprises associated with the global healthcare market will also find the information helpful. Explanations and content are useful to case management generalists, specialists, and business developers. The content is intended for uptake by interested parties within and outside the healthcare practice arena.


Methodology: All research and syntheses were executed by the authors. Sources included business correspondences, medical tourism literature, corporate Internet profiles, news releases, and healthcare industry investigative and monitoring agencies. Clinical competencies stem from the international practice experiences of one author (K. Craig). International health insurance, economics, and financing expertise stems from other author (L. Beichl).


Results: This article launches the platform for development of checklists, tools, and guidelines for international case management practice.


Implications for case management practice: The article focuses on (1) the examination of traditional quality safeguards of accreditation and branding and (2) the introduction of patient-centered ICM practices. The article aims to identify sources of risk for individual medical consumers who travel across national borders to seek medical care and methods of risk mitigation, especially international case management.