IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 156



International SOS | From East to West
Building a Global
Network
Counting on Camels
Patrick Deroose recalls the rescue of a
group of Spanish mountaineers from
near the base camp of K2, the Himalayan
mountain, in 1994. The climbers fell and
were suffering from frostbite and bruises;
they were exhausted and needed help.
This involved first sending camels to the
base camp to meet them – we were able
to supply the camels thanks to the
knowledge of our local contacts. Then
came complicated helicopter
manoeuvres at altitude to airlift the
climbers. This was followed by the long
journey home on a fixed wing air
ambulance to the nearest centre of
medical excellence. There the climbers
received full medical assessments and
emergency treatment, before being
transported home.
Patrick Deroose: ‘‘This complicated
journey was only achievable thanks
to the work done by the Global
Accredited Network (GAN) in
establishing not only a capability but
above all good relationships. We had
people in place, in every place who
we could count on, and that made all
the difference. That saves lives.”
148
As we saw in ‘Early Days in Asia,’ we gradually built
up a team of corresponding doctors who could be
sent out to help our client members wherever they
were. As with the rest of our business much
depended on building up such networks. For
example, if a medical transport involved meeting a
patient accompanied by a local doctor, we would
record that doctor’s details for future reference.
Over time, based on personal experience and
recommendations, the list gradually grew.
To start with, the network was pieced together
fairly informally rather than through any systematic
process. Working with our Japanese clients, as in so
many other areas, made us more professional. We
had to clearly demonstrate that we had a genuine
network of quality people in place. Our US clients
were equally keen to see such proof. In the early
1990s we set up our Global Accredited Network
(GAN) department to formalise the network’s
existence. In November 2002 all this information was
incorporated into our Service Provider Information
Network (SPIN) database to provide online access.
Our TRICARE contracts took us a stage further
as the US Department of Defense insisted on
credentialing. We helped define the credentialing
requirements then we had to visit each provider
to verify they met those standards, for example,
checking that professional licences and medical
indemnity cover were all in order. We then applied
many of these checks to our own network,
thereby raising standards across the board.
We have forged strong links with a range of
individuals, companies and institutions. These
include doctors, administrators of public and private
hospitals, owners and operators of air and ground
ambulance companies, security providers, routine
care clinics, and many types of travel providers
– from logistics companies to hoteliers and airlines.
A number of these providers have worked with us
for many years.
Thierry Watrin: “The Network Department
works closely with our specialist medical, security,
aviation and logistics teams to identify the best
and most appropriate providers. The Network
Department then carries out the thorough process
of credentialing. Feedback systems are in place
too; if negative feedback is received the matter
is always investigated.”
That early list has grown to a network of over
76,000 global providers, of which approximately
65,000 have been personally visited and vetted by
a member of the GAN team.
Dr Pascal Rey-Herme: “Providers are the people
many of our clients see first. They are the face of
the company and play a vital role.”
Right: Clinic in
Tianjin, China, 2014.

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