Qualitative Examination of Health Tourism and Its Challenges

Document Type : Original Article


1 Research and Education Department, Razavi Hospital, Mashhad, Iran

2 Razavi Cancer Research Center, Razavi Hospital, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: Health tourism refers to travel for the use of services that improve or promote the physical or psychological health of an individual in a location apart from their place of residence lasting over 24 hours. Health tourism provides a sizeable share of revenues derived from the health sector in some countries. The high potential for health tourism in Iran, especially in the city of Mashhad, the need to establish a groundwork for health tourism in Iran that cannot be overemphasized. Because the transfer of knowledge and theoretical and practical synthesis are underlying concerns, this study examined how health tourism knowledge is transferred and applied from the perspective of health tourism officials and academics.
Methods: This study adopted a qualitative approach based on grounded theory. Data collection was conducted through purposeful sampling using in-depth and semi-structured individual interviews. The conversations were recorded and then transcribed verbatim and finally analyzed using Strauss and Corbin’s coding paradigm and constant comparative analysis.
Results: The results of interviews with 16 participants from among hospital managers, university professors and tourism and health insurance managers yielded 100 initial codes, out of which 60 conceptual labels or preliminary codes for broader concepts were extracted after repeated modification to reach conceptual density.
Conclusion: Three categories having several subcategories were derived from the responses of participants: the challenges and benefits of health tourism, human interaction and communication and the impact of international standards.


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