Title: Towards a rigorous conceptual framework for examining international medical travel

Authors: Chi Lei Julie Chow; Guilherme D. Pires; Philip J. Rosenberger III

Addresses: Newcastle Business School, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia ' Newcastle Business School, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia ' Newcastle Business School, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia

Abstract: The medical tourism literature suggests that patients choose to consume healthcare services abroad in order to take advantage of medical treatment not available locally, of treatment of a higher standard or provided at reduced cost, as well as of the tourism opportunities offered by the chosen destination. In departing from the medical tourism literature, this paper consists of a critical literature review organised to establish what is known about international medical travel, hence, contributing towards the development of a more rigorous conceptual framework for this type of travel. Based on secondary data, tourism connotations are distinguished from international travel for medical purposes, since the design and implementation of effective marketing strategies aimed at the medical tourism market are challenged by a lack of understanding of the drivers and impediments that influence patients' decisions when demand is for medical treatment. Attention is given to the definition of medical travel, its product, consumer and destination success factors. Consideration of the nature of the medical travel product suggests that relational strategies may be justified. Recommendations are made for further research.

Keywords: medical tourism; medical travel products; medical travel consumers; conceptual framework; relational strategies; healthcare services; literature review; international travel; marketing strategies; patient decisions; medical treatment abroad.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBHR.2015.071476

International Journal of Behavioural and Healthcare Research, 2015 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.88 - 103

Available online: 29 Aug 2015 *

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