• International Medical Travel Journal

    Courtesy Of IMTJ - International Medical Travel Journal

  • Courtesy Of IMTJ - International Medical Travel Journal

  • Courtesy Of IMTJ - International Medical Travel Journal

GLOBAL: Medical tourists take 90 days or less to decide where to go

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:00:38 GMT

It takes 90 days or less for medical tourists to make their buying decision, according to Placidway’s latest report ’Medical Tourism Global Consumer Demand Survey’. In the last decade, medical tourism has been transformed from a niche marketplace to a highly competitive environment with more and more medical providers seeking customers for their hospital, clinic or specialist service. As customers find it almost impossible to differentiate between competing claims on knowledge, technology, specialisms and medical skills, people are putting a heavy emphasis on the price, the country’s overall reputation in healthcare services, and peer reviews. When it comes to choosing the healthcare provider, consumers look first at countries with advanced economies that have long offered advanced medical care such as Germany. But high costs in those countries drives individuals to look for alternatives in emerging countries, such as Mexico and Latin America (for people in USA and Canada), India (for African consumers), Turkey or Poland (Middle Easterners & Europeans). According to survey author Pramod Goel, "Medical travellers take their time to ensure the decision they make is the right one, so if we are talking about the best hospital in the world, or the top specialists for a particular treatment, it all comes down to price, country reputation and peer reviews. Even if the exact same services are available in their home country they will first look up the prices for the treatment in hospitals abroad." The 90 days to make a decision has to do with the way that people make the hard decisions in life. There are factors that influence decision-making processes: age, socioeconomic status, and cognitive abilities. As the survey analysis shows, younger adults will request more information when compared to older adults and, depending upon the education level - the decision making process can be faster in lower educated health travellers while it becomes slower in higher educated individuals. 34% need about one month or more to make a decision from the time of inquiry to board the flight for medical travel. 32% will make a decision in 3 months, while 23% will know what they have to do in 6 months. Some of them would need more time, so 6% will make a decision in a year and 4% in more than one year. 66% can make a decision within 90-days starting from the day of their inquiry. Pramod Goel explains, “The majority said that the average duration from research start to boarding the plane for treatment would be 3 months. We have concluded, after analysing all the factors and age groups, that if the individuals will not make the buying decision within 3 months from the first inquiry, the chances of buying medical travel treatment goes down to less than 10%". All three factors are important - cost, location and peer reviews, provided that the information on technology availability, specialists, and/or advanced treatment options is then easy to find by the consumer. As medical providers have been trying to tap into the potential of the demand for medical tourism services, the first concept that is key is the consumer’s behaviour. The consumer process has several main steps and the key one for providers is the ability of the consumer to ensure that the hospital or clinic is a reliable option or, better yet, the optimal solution for the problem identified. How communications can speed up the buying process will mainly depend upon the medical provider’s ability to reach the future customer - whether it is with the best price, location advantage, or favourable peer reviews.


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