A research tool for medical tourism


In his recent article, Medical Tourism Marketing: A model of destination attractiveness, Keith Pollard provided an excellent overview of the factors associated with the choices being made every day by medical travelers. But it isn't necessary to guess or speculate as to how consumers make these choices. There is a very well established research tool which allows scientific analysis of the "trade-offs" which consumers make in such choices.

The research tool has various names such as Research Design, Choice-Based Modeling, Trade-Off Analysis and Conjoint Analysis. The tool has been used for many years in consumer product marketing to anticipate preference for combinations of features.

For example, when you go to the store to buy a new computer, you don't need to wait for the manufacturer to produce exactly the combination of color, memory, and size that you want. The manufacturer has already determined how many models of which combinations of features to make in advance. This is done using Conjoint Analysis.

Stackpole & Associates has pioneered the application of Conjoint Analysis in healthcare. Medical travel providers and destinations can utilize this tool. For example, let’s examine the "significant seven" factors of destination attractiveness proposed by Keith Pollard:

  •     Geographic Proximity
  •     Cultural Proximity
  •     Destination Image
  •     Destination Infrastructure
  •     Destination Environment
  •     Risk and Reward
  •     Price

These are features or "utilities" that consumers employ in making a decision. How do we know in advance which of these features are more or less important to particular types of consumers?

The rank order importance of these features would be different, for example, to a UK consumer considering dental tourism to Hungary from a hip replacement consumer from the US traveling to Costa Rica. Each of these choice-based models can be anticipated using Conjoint Analysis.

The basic concept behind Conjoint Analysis is choice. Consumers make purchases based on trade-offs between and among factors such as those proposed by Keith Pollard.

By scientifically designing and asking consumers a set of survey questions, consumers replicate, or model the types of real life trade-offs that they make when they decide to select a medical destination. Armed with this information about the trade-offs that consumers are willing to make, we can, through statistical modeling, anticipate the exact combination and rank order of features that will appeal to the consumers that destination providers want to reach.

Conjoint Analysis can secure answers to crucial questions, including:

  •     Which marketing messages will generate the most leads?
  •     What are the critical differences in preference between one source location and another?
  •     How should we configure our services to appeal to our customers?
  •     What combination of features will result in the highest customer satisfaction with the lowest operating cost?

Conjoint Analysis is a market research methodology which can answer these and other questions that are vital to the success of medical travel businesses. To learn more about this research tool, you can read more and view a brief video on its application in medical travel.


Rain or shine?... The outlook for medical travel

Resources, 05 July, 2018

Irving Stackpole, Stackpole and Associates, IMTJ Summit 2018

Will medical travel ever make it to the mainstream?

Resources, 30 April, 2018

Irving Stackpole, Stackpole & Associates, IMTJ Medical Travel Summit USA 2018

International Medical Travel – Telehealth & Telemedicine Innovations

Resources, 30 April, 2018

Irving Stackpole, Stackpole & Associates, IMTJ Medical Travel Summit USA 2018

Argentina medical tourism

Articles, 14 June, 2017

It takes more than two to tango in medical tourism

The dynamics of medical travel

Resources, 01 May, 2017

Irving Stackpole, Destination Health: The Medical Travel Summit USA

Domestic medical tourism opportunities

Resources, 01 May, 2017

Irving Stackpole, Destination Health: The Medical Travel Summit USA

How to improve your medical tourism marketing

Resources, 26 April, 2017

Irving Stackpole, Stackpole and Associates, IMTJ Medical Travel Summit 2017

Rational approach to medical tourism

Articles, 20 February, 2017

What we need... is a reasonable, rational approach to medical tourism

Slow progress for US medical travel

Articles, 07 June, 2016

Why have US employers failed to adopt medical tourism?

Outlook of the US medical travel market

Resources, 26 May, 2016

Irving Stackpole: IMTJ Summit 2016

The role of destination brand on medical travel choice

Resources, 26 May, 2016

Irving Stackpole: IMTJ Summit 2016

Are you insured for medical travel?

Articles, 19 May, 2016

The US health insurance market and medical travel: Separating fact from fiction

USA outbound medical travel market report

Resources, 11 February, 2016

The insight you need to make a success of attracting American medical tourists

Where have we got it right… and where have we gone wrong?

Resources, 15 April, 2015

Irving Stackpole: IMTJ Summit 2015

Don't get fooled

Articles, 12 July, 2013

Getting the best returns from conferences and trade shows

Ten Terrible Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Resources, 01 May, 2012

Irving Stackpole: EMTC 2012

Medical reform

Articles, 02 December, 2011

What does the Affordable Care Act mean for medical tourism?




Do you have an article that you’d like to share with the medical travel industry?

Publish for FREE on IMTJ.


Related Articles

The UK, the EU and cross-border healthcare

06 February, 2020

Brexit has happened. Will it impact UK medical travel?

Medical travel to South Korea’s second city

09 January, 2020

Can Busan attract patients from Europe and America?

Medical tourism needs CXOs #BotchedNoMore

10 October, 2019

Who should manage the patient experience?

Apps & US medical tourism

12 September, 2019

Will insurer apps reduce domestic US medical travel?

Preparing for complications

30 May, 2019

Checklist for medical travel planning