Our Chief Medical Officer on Chile & Latin America
With the massive upheaval in healthcare delivery in the United States and skyrocketing costs for insurance, prescriptions, and procedures, plus longer waits for doctors’ appointments, I felt I simply must find better options for my own patients and others who have been caught in delays, restrictions, and limited treatment options.
Since 2009, I have personally visited and evaluated international medical facilities throughout Europe, Canada, Scandinavia, Central America, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Latin America, with its Joint Commission International accredited private hospitals has some of the top world-class facilities and diversity of specialists and cutting edge treatments I was seeking for my patients and others looking for overseas options.
Latin America offers a wealth of incredible private medical facilities, equaling and in many cases exceeding those of many major American cities, and located in culturally similar, safe and attractive first world cities. I have spent the last three years researching the hospitals, getting to know physicians, and even unexpectedly being a patient myself in Santiago. My family and I have been patients in two different internationally accredited private hospitals in Santiago, Chile, including life-threatening medical emergency situations. We have experienced firsthand the high quality, state-of the-art care & facilities, focus on patients, meticulous attention to risk management on issues like infection control, caring compassionate staff, and lower cost than the US. Hospitals where my family and I have been treated in the US pale in comparison to private hospitals in Santiago.
In particular, private hospitals in Santiago shine as a place where doctors and nurses spend time with patients, and where medical care in tailored to your individual needs, not driven by insurance companies or third-party control of approved treatments. Costs are 60-70% lower than in the US.
Most important to me as a physician and patient advocate, however, is that medical care in JCI-accredited private hospitals in Latin America are still focused on the PATIENT, not protocols. You are a PERSON, not a number.
In 2015, Med Expert Chile, based in Santiago, Chile, began developing relationships with hospitals in Santiago and other Latin American countries that have the most prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation. Med Expert Chile as a company requires that the hospitals we use have the international Joint Commission accreditation to provide an even higher standard of care to serve overseas patients seeking top tier medical care at much less cost than in the US. Patients can be assured that the international JCI-accredited hospitals maintain the high standard people are accustomed to the United States.
Med Expert Chile selects hospitals that have a long track record of serving international patients, offer individualized care and medical privacy that we are seeing disappear in the US. Our internationally accredited hospitals are able to serve patients with greater safety, due to their commitment to strict infection control and monitoring of quality measures.
JCI-accredited hospitals have outstanding facilities, their physicians are impressive in their training, diversity of specialists, and state-of the-art types of care available. Many physicians have Fellowship training in the US, UK, and Canada, and are fluent in English. Many are world-renown experts in their field. Many cutting edge treatment options not yet available in the US are offered in Latin America. For instance, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), a non-surgical successful treatment for prostate cancer, has been widely used in many countries for more than 15 years, but has not yet made it through the bureaucratic delays in the US. North American patients seeking HIFU treatment for prostate cancer already have to travel overseas to get it if they want to reduce the serious risks associated with radical prostate surgery. Prostate Cancer Centers in Santiago offer minimally invasive treatments (radioactive seeds, DaVinci robotic surgery, and soon will have HIFU), so that all options are available in one place, tailored to the needs of the patients.
I am excited at the new opportunities for my medical work and business vision to serve patients in a variety of new venues and partners to provide a range of services and meet the accreditation standards that many businesses and government agencies require. Another example of differences in treatment approaches lies in the use of testosterone therapy for men. One of the leading urologists and prostate cancer specialists in Santiago, has published studies showing the safety and quality of life/medical benefits of testosterone therapy after prostate cancer, similar to other international outcomes studies, and dovetailing beautifully with my own work in men’s health, endocrine aging, and testosterone therapy. There was no higher risk of recurrence of cancer, while men’s quality of life and overall health improved greater on testosterone therapy compared to men receiving no testosterone. In the US, in spite of data showing that use of hormone blocking drugs that lower testosterone actually cause earlier deaths and higher rates for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, it is still the norm for prostate cancer protocols to push doctors to use these drugs.
My work in medicine has always been as an advocate for patients. Our Med Expert Chile team has worked very hard to make patient-centered care the basis of our program of services in Latin America focused on medical competence, compassion and commitment to benefit patients’ lives. I am excited that with this expansion, I can continue my medical advocacy for patients in a setting that still values our belief that each life is unique and deserves the best possible medical and surgical care.
I feel strongly that the JCI-accredited private hospitals in Latin America offer the most options and best “fit” for medical experience and philosophy of treatment focused on our Judeo-Christian principles that value the sanctity of individual lives. It is for this reason I am expanding my medical business focus to be based in Santiago, Chile which provides easy access to the major Latin American cities we serve to benefit more patients who need lower cost, safer, and more patient-centered care.
Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.
Santiago Chile, Tucson Arizona, and Dallas Texas
Dr. Vliet is the Author of five widely acclaimed health books:
Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect– And Doctors Ignore
Women, Weight and Hormones
It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!
The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Testosterone
The Savvy Woman’s Guide to PCOS
- 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for work in medicine and patient advocacy
- 2007 Arizona Voice of Women Award
- 1999 Ohio Medical Education Network (OMEN TV) award for best clinical presentation
Dr. Vliet has been a radio host for America’s Fabric and Faith in Action, and was the creator and host of the year-long Blog Talk Radio show, “Straight Talk about Hormones.”