Customization in medical tourism in the Philippines

Michelle Rydback (Department of Business and Economics Studies, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden and School of Social Sciences, Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden)
Akmal S. Hyder (Department of Business and Economics Studies, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden)

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

ISSN: 1750-6123

Publication date: 5 November 2018



Focusing on customization, this paper aims to examine how service providers market health care in emerging markets through medical tourism.


Using 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.


Customization 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 implications

The empirically grounded theoretical framework needs to be tested in different contexts for generalization.

Practical implications

The 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 implications

The paper acknowledges the need for health-care marketing and the novel role of health-care providers.


Using a marketing lens, this study sheds light on the underexplored industry of medical tourism.



Rydback, M. and Hyder, A. (2018), "Customization in medical tourism in the Philippines", International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 486-500.

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