Factors affecting health tourism and international health-care facility choice

Aydin G., Karamehmet B.

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, vol.11, no.1, pp.16-36, 2017 (Scopus) identifier


Purpose: Health-care tourism has become a major industry in the past decade. Following the increasing activity in health-care tourism, the decision-making process of consumers in choosing an international health-care facility has become increasingly important to the related parties. The present study aims to offer a holistic model of international health-care facility choice that incorporates the important dimensions by assessing the growth drivers and the alternative factors proposed in the literature and by validating them via a survey study. Design/methodology/approach: The factors deemed important in the existing literature were used as the basis of a study in Turkey. In total, 65 structured interviews were conducted with health-care professionals and international health tourists to understand the perspective of the two important parties that affect policymaking. Findings: The findings of the study support the significance of the majority of the variables proposed as important factors affecting international health-care facility choice. Research limitations/implications: The study was carried out in four large hospital chains in Turkey; however, this creates a limitation in scope and may have limited representativeness of the overall market. The model has yet to be tested on a larger scale. Practical implications: There are significant differences in the opinions of professionals and international health-care tourists in terms of choice criteria. This indicates problems with health professionals’ understanding of the consumer decision process. Originality/value: The study provides a model that can be used to gain insights on the consumer decision process and also provides the policymakers and stakeholders of the international health-care industry with a sound theoretical foundation to build further studies upon. Only a limited number of studies was carried out in Turkey that focus on international health-care tourism, and the present study will fill a substantial research gap.