Healthcare Service Marketing in Medical Tourism : An Emerging Market Study

Sammanfattning: Medical tourism (MT) enables patients to satisfy their healthcare needs by traveling outside their country of residence to obtain medical treatment. The increasing number of scientific publications, different countries’ engagement in providing care for foreigners, and patients heading abroad to receive healthcare indicate the growth and popularity of MT. This industry’s development exposes the healthcare sector to a competitive environment. As a result, marketing has become a significant part of healthcare providers’ operations and survival. Research into how these providers promote their services is limited. This limitation is further apparent for healthcare providers located in less popular destinations, such as emerging market (EM) countries. This dissertation therefore focuses on MT service providers in an EM, the Philippines.This study aims to examine how service providers in an EM country market healthcare services internationally. This thesis consists of four articles. Through qualitative case-based research, this study concentrates on hospitals, clinics, and medical tourism facilitators that play a central role in service delivery within the MT industry. The results from this thesis show that to efficiently market healthcare, service providers have to build trust, establish reliable networks, and offer customized and supplementary services.This dissertation is positioned to contribute to relevance and diversity in service marketing research and the budding healthcare service marketing while sustaining MT literature through studying service providers in an EM context. Although this study was based on one EM, it offers an in-depth understanding of how the marketing of healthcare services is being implemented. This knowledge is not only important for the practicing medical tourism destination countries, but also for patients, managers, policymakers, and researchers in the patients’ home country. Future studies could focus on the perspective of consumers. Accordingly, this study is an initial step toward a deeper understanding of the marketing of commercialized healthcare.

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