Medical tourism is the most important aspect of health tourism. The responsibilities of this industry are mostly undertaken by agencies and facilitators acting as intermediaries between patients and service providers. As a key factor, websites provide extensive services to patients for a better presence in medical tourism market. The present study aimed to compare medical tourism websites and facilitators in Iran and other countries using correspondence analysis.
Websites were selected based on the specified criteria such as content of websites which were examined using content analysis technique. The data belonging to website content were classified into two groups including medical and tourism services and information and communication issues. Correspondence analysis was done using two R packages (FactoMineR for analysis and fact extra for data visualization).
Of 42 selected websites, 19 was belonged to Iran, 11 to North America, 7 to South and Central America, and 5 to Asia. Medical tourism facilitators in North America and Asia tend to provide modern contact and legal information. Against Iranians' facilitators tend to show traditional contact and general information. South American websites provide more information about hospital accreditation. Iranian websites emphasized tourism-related information. Whereas, North American’s are emphasized on cost-comparison lists.
Results of the present study provide a snapshot of status of data provided on websites in terms of medical, tourist and communication services available in the studied websites and clearly showed that Iranian medical tourism facilitator websites act differently from those of other countries. Websites play important roles for guiding customers to make decisions regarding the medical journey. Therefore, Iranian medical tourism facilitator websites must reduce their differences with those of other countries in order to be more actively participate and earn more profit in this competitive market
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