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A study on the effect of perceived risk on the perceived service quality of medical tourists

Other Titles
 의료관광객의 인지된 리스크가 서비스 질 인식에 미치는 영향 연구 
Issue Date
Dept. of Health Administration/박사
Over the last decade, the phenomenon that people travel to overseas outside their healthcare jurisdiction to obtain medical services have rapidly increased. It is called "medical tourism" and its industry has been growing under the attention of many national governments, industries and academic fields. As the number of medical tourist continues to increase, there is an emergent need to manage the medical tourism market. However, there is a lack of hard evidence to support growth in future. Thus, this research is to investigate the effect of perceived risk on the actual service experiences of medical tourists. The instruments used to measure consumer behavior including perceived risk, risk reduction and perceived quality were developed first. They were used for quantitative research. In-depth interviews were also conducted to fill the gap of the quantitative study. The major results of this study are as follows: Frist, foreign patients chose word-of-mouth as the major information source for the purchase decision and also as the main method to reduce risk. The in-depth interviews also showed that the patients relied on the WOM, particularly when based on experiences. Mongolian patients relied more heavily on face-to-face methods, compared with Russian patients. Second, a positive attitude toward medical tourism significantly influenced on the perceived service quality. They evaluated more favorably on excellence and availability of Korean medical service whereas they assessed less favorably on "saving money" and "opportunity to travel". Third, perceived risk on through all purchase stages negatively influenced on perceived risk. In "pre-visit" stage, patients perceived more risks for financing and making an uncertain decision. Meanwhile, in "during-stay" stage, culture related(food, cultural differences and communication) and finance related(additional cost) were indicated as the major factors. For "post-discharge" stage, the medical side(recovery pain, side effect & complication) and the financial side(whole time and money invested, cost for follow-up care) were ranked in the top groups. Fourth, the risk reduction in the "pre-visit" stage significantly influenced on perceived service quality compared to other stages. This indicates that foreign patients perceive a high quality of service if they do more risk reduction activities before visiting the destination. The major risk reduction methods included gathering advice of friends and family, consulting with expert, direct trial and collecting information through formal source. The implications as follows were drawn from the results of this study. First, hospitals participating in medical tourism services should use experienced patients as marketers and the stories of their experiences as marketing tools. For using the experienced patients, hospital could ask them to express their satisfaction to their family or friends by providing a referral reward program. In order to use the patients'' story, it would be helpful to publish a newsletter that includes the story of patients'' experience. Second, the hospitals or governments should advertise both the excellence of the medical service and the subsidiary benefits of medical tourism. Thus, they should provide cultural information and the latest Korean news with medical information on their website to interest them in the country. Third, reducing perceived risk of medical tourists should be managed in advance. The management of the perceived risk by medical tourists can be dealt with in three perspectives: financial, cultural and follow-up care. To reduce the financial burden, the message that it is reasonable price and good deal should be sent to the patients. In addition, the error in diagnosis from the origin country must be considered when determining the cost of a procedure. With regard to cultural issues, the hospitals should develop a strategy which both the origin and destination culture can participate. They should provide cultural education programs to all related staff including physicians and provide an opportunity that the patients could learn about culture in Korea. In terms of follow-up care, the hospitals should precisely offer them the discharge-education to help them recover within the hospitals'' own instructions. Fourth, risk reduction activities should be induced before the patients visit. Thus, it is important to build up the web-place such as a chat room, where both experienced and in-experienced patients can share all related information to reduce the risk for themselves.
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7. Others (기타) > Others (기타) > 5. Others
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