EMS Ambulance 8 Apr 2022
What makes a good medical repatriation company? 10 tips for choosing the right organisation
Anyone who looks into international medical transports soon runs into two inescapable truths:
1) There are a lot of companies offering international medical transports
2) It’s really hard to tell how good – or safe – their service will be
The truth is that while there is a wide variety of medical repatriation companies and costs, there’s also a lot of variation in what they can or will provide. Some only offer a single mode of transport, for example. Others don’t have the ability to flex around very case-specific needs, such as sea-level flights for certain cardiac patients, or full-isolation transports for patients with COVID.
That’s why it’s sensible to have a checklist of things to look for when you’re sifting through the options. Here’s EMS Ambulance’s own offering, based on the some of the things we regard as essential.
Easy to contact
They say first impressions are critical, and that definitely applies to repatriation companies. They need to be responsive from the get-go, because many transports are themselves time-critical. That’s why we offer a 24/7 helpline, with operations offices in two time zones and contact options by phone, email and WhatsApp.
Available by videoSigning up with a medical transport company is a big commitment, because the costs are significant and you’re placing a lot of trust in their service. That’s where a video call can be helpful. Sometimes it’s reassuring to actually see the people who will be working on your case. See Get a fast, free video consultation with an EMS expert.
Endorsed by others
Look for official endorsements of the company’s services and promises. EMS holds the internationally-recognised ISO 9001:2015 certificate for quality management, which among other things means we’re regularly audited by independent inspections company TUV Nederland. We’re also registered as an official provider of mobile care to Holland’s Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
Backed by specialists
Your repatriation company should have expertise at every level. That includes the logistics team you first speak to – and of course the medics who will be taking care of your patient. Check whether they offer a 24/7 Doctor-on-Call for the repatriation: this is an experienced medical professional who can provide support and backup to the transport team if needed during the transport.
Flexible with transports
Getting a patient from A to B can be complex. Route options will vary (air, road, even ferry connections), and the mode of transport will depend on the patient’s needs and medical condition: can they travel with basic medical assistance, or will they need intensive-care support? We offer three transport types to cover all eventualities: medical escort, road ambulance and air ambulance.
Some medical transport companies only operate on specific continents. Others – like EMS – are able to organise journeys literally from any part of the world to any other. We work with foreign embassies and consulates when necessary, and we can offer translation to communicate with the local hospital and doctors if it’s helpful.
A “bed-to-bed” medical transport means precisely that: once you greenlight the transport, the company will handle everything else – up to and including your patient’s bed at the destination hospital. You can read more about why we feel that’s critical in this blog: “Medical repatriation: why is a bed-to-bed service so important?”
Keen to update you
Repatriating a loved one can be stressful. That’s why it’s important to find a company that will stay in touch with you through the process, especially when the transport is underway. You should be able to contact the Operations team easily if you have questions or concerns. You should also be getting regular updates from them as the journey proceeds.
Check what past customers are saying about the organisation you’re considering. Longer reviews sometimes offer insights into how the company dealt with a difficult situation, or if the help they provided went above and beyond. You can read some of EMS’s feedback in our Reviews section or on our Google Reviews page.
Delivering excellent aftercare
It’s worth asking what will happen once the company has completed the transport. Will they carry out a fully-documented handover with the hospital doctors? What happens if the patient’s bed isn’t available as planned? Can you contact them again after if you have questions or need further help? The best repatriation companies will want to see your patient cared-for all the way to their destination – and beyond.
Do you need any help or advice about how medical transports work? We appreciate how confusing the whole process can feel! Just drop our experts a line any time, day or night, and they’ll be happy to answer your questions. You can get in touch with us by phone, email or WhatsApp.