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Country perspective on medical tourism: the Malaysian experience

Noor Hazilah Abd Manaf (Department of Business Administration, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Husnayati Hussin (Department of Information System, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Puteri Nemie Jahn Kassim (Department of Civil Law, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Rokiah Alavi (Department of Economics, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Zainurin Dahari (Department of Business Administration, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The study seeks to explore the perception of international patients on Malaysia as a medical tourism destination country, as well as overall patient satisfaction, perceived value and future intention for repeat treatment and services.

Design/methodology/approach

Self-administered questionnaire was the main method of data collection. The survey covered major private hospitals in medical tourists’ states in the country, namely, Penang, Melaka, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Convenience sampling was used due to the condition of patients as respondents.

Findings

Indonesian patients formed the largest majority of international patients in the country. Five dimensions of medical tourism in Malaysia was identified, namely, hospital and staff, country factor, combining tourism and health services, cost saving and insurance and unavailability of treatment. Of these, hospital and staff was found to be the most important factor for the patients. Perception of value, overall satisfaction and intention for future treatment was also found to be high. This indicates that Malaysia is on the right footing in this burgeoning industry.

Practical implications

Findings from the study will enable policy-makers to better position Malaysia as a medical tourist destination country.

Originality/value

Medical tourism is a recent phenomenon and very little empirical research has been carried out at the patient level. This study is one of the first few studies which seek to explore medical tourism from the perspective of the patients themselves.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the Ministry of Education Malaysia for funding the research through its Exploratory Research Grant Scheme (ERGS).

Citation

Abd Manaf, N.H., Hussin, H., Jahn Kassim, P.N., Alavi, R. and Dahari, Z. (2015), "Country perspective on medical tourism: the Malaysian experience", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 43-56. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHS-11-2013-0038

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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