Focusing on customization, this paper aims to examine how service providers market health care in emerging markets through medical tourism.Design/methodology/approachUsing a qualitative method, researchers conducted 18 semi-structured interviews with managers from five health-care providers and supporting organizations in the Philippines. For analysis, data from the service providers are compared.FindingsCustomization is found to play crucial role in offering health-care services. The customization takes place by adapting to emotional, social and cultural needs; alleviating knowledge asymmetry; and moderating the negative impact of the unfamiliar context experienced by international patients.Research/limitations implicationsThe empirically grounded theoretical framework needs to be tested in different contexts for generalization.Practical implicationsThe study focuses on understanding and responding to the needs of international patients, also demonstrating that health-care marketing must be developed through a joint effort by both the medical and business sides of health-care providers.Social implicationsThe paper acknowledges the need for health-care marketing and the novel role of health-care providers.Originality/valueUsing a marketing lens, this study sheds light on the underexplored industry of medical tourism.
International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 14, 2018
Keywords: Emerging market; Health care; Medical tourism; International patients; Knowledge asymmetry; Service marketing