What a Trip! How Patients Evaluate Centers of Excellence in the Medical Tourism Industry: An Abstract

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Conference Proceeding

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Employers and insurance companies are increasingly offering patients various options for having surgical procedures performed and have been turning to “centers of excellence” that are renown for specific procedures resulting in better quality treatment than found at local hospitals. Medical tourism is also an option that has become more popular among employers and patients. Breadth and depth of healthcare marketing research is growing as the importance of marketing to healthcare organizations continues to increase (Crié and Chebat 2013) and research efforts in the area of healthcare marketing have been very informative investigating the fields of medical tourism, health marketing communication, strategic management and marketing in healthcare, pharmaceutical marketing, service quality, dietary habits, and the growing field of digital healthcare (Butt et al. 2019). However, research into the healthcare field requires industry-specific insight and knowledge (Stremersch and Van Dyck 2009). Thus, a greater understanding is needed regarding how perspective patients generally perceive the risks associated with each of these options with respect to the type of surgery being performed. This research seeks to make theoretical contributions about the nature and determinants of customer expectations of service in the healthcare context via Zeithaml et al. (1993) conceptual framework. We employed a mixed methods design collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, which seeks to contribute to a deeper understanding of patient evaluation and expectations of service in the medical tourism industry. Within-subjects 2 × 3 experimental design format was employed altering the type of surgery performed and the location of the surgery along with financial responsibilities/incentives. The findings can better communicate the benefits of healthcare tourism while minimizing perceived risks. Service providers can work to re-define country of origin effects related to their specific healthcare service by showcasing awards, credentials, and advertising where their doctors received their degrees. To mitigate fearful emotions, service providers can also increase communications between the healthcare service providers and the patients to put them at ease through calming “bed-side manner”.

Publication Title

Celebrating the Past and Future of Marketing and Discovery With Social Impact

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