Shaping medical tourism : the roles of healthcare intermediaries.
Tay, Yvonne Yee Wen.
Date of Issue2008
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
Medical tourism has emerged in recent years as a major trend in the globalization of healthcare. Medical tourism is the act of traveling abroad to obtain healthcare. Its accelerating growth has brought about the emergence of a group of healthcare intermediaries in the medical tourism value chain. This thesis focuses on an area in medical tourism that is often neglected and overlooked, and contributes by revealing the diverse, yet significant roles the healthcare intermediaries play in medical tourism. The medical tourism value chain is illustrated in this thesis. The medical tourism value chain is the first attempt in medical tourism research to detail the various value generating activities that occurs in medical tourism. From the medical tourism value chain, the intermediaries in medical tourism are identified, the activities these intermediaries are involved in are described, and the roles they play are analyzed. These healthcare intermediaries come in various models with different offerings. But their underlying propositions are to match patients with providers, and to bridge the supply and demand of medical tourism. They shape the demand and supply of medical tourism by 1) reducing transaction costs and agency costs, 2) providing quality assur-ance, 3) building trusted relationships, 4) driving the customization of services, and 5) promoting partnerships along the value chain.