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Overcoming barriers in medical tourism: New survey insights

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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Medical Tourism

The Medical Tourism Association (MTA) has just unveiled the 2024 Medical Tourism Patient Survey, offering critical insights into why consumers choose to travel for medical care and identifying the challenges that hinder patient recruitment for medical tourism entities. This survey, a collaborative effort with the International Healthcare Research Center (IHRC), a non-profit organization dedicated to gathering and sharing extensive data on worldwide healthcare management, acts as a strategic guide for medical tourism facilitators globally. It provides an in-depth look at the primary motivators for patients seeking medical care abroad and outlines effective strategies for catering to the changing needs and expectations of international patients. The findings shed light on the factors influencing health consumer choices, obstacles in attracting patients, and methods for improving patient engagement and maximizing profits.

Key findings from the survey highlight trust as a fundamental element influencing global healthcare behaviors, with a significant 97.2% of patients who traveled for medical procedures emphasizing its importance. Trust encompasses several factors: transparency in cost and fees, clear communication regarding treatment, the credentials of involved healthcare professionals, and a well-defined plan for unforeseen circumstances.

Jonathan Edelheit, President of MTA, emphasizes the importance of understanding and addressing medical tourists’ concerns to succeed in the competitive field of international patient care. This survey is essential for healthcare providers to refine their patient acquisition strategies and promote growth by enhancing trust and credibility.

The survey also points out the importance of accreditation as a trust indicator, with over two-thirds of participants considering it crucial for choosing a medical travel program. Accreditation signifies a commitment to quality, patient experience, and adherence to international healthcare standards.

However, the report identifies several barriers preventing potential medical tourists from seeking treatment abroad, including hidden costs, worries about complications, and post-treatment coordination issues. Other deterrents include delays in provider responses, communication gaps, and problematic payment methods.

The report offers insights into overcoming these challenges to improve patient conversion rates and addresses the nuanced obstacles that medical tourism providers face, limiting the appeal of their services. It urges medical tourism programs to view their offerings from a consumer perspective to identify and rectify conversion barriers.

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