An Entropy (Shannon) Based Approach for Determining Importance Weights of Influencing Factors in Selecting Medical Tourism Destinations

Document Type : Original Article


Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Medical tourism is currently accepted as a developing industry. It describes the act of leaving home for treatment and care abroad. There are several factors that influence choice of destination for patients in medical tourism. Identification of these factors and prioritization according to importance weights could help international healthcare providers develop their marketing strategy.
Methods: In the first stage of this research, an extensive review was done on recently published studies in medical tourism to identify influential factors on selecting a destination for medical tourism. The review yielded fourteen factors. In the second stage, 40 related papers were selected and the content analysis method was used to calculate frequency of repetition for each factor in the 40 papers. Furthermore, by using the Shannon entropy formula, marginal entropy and importance weight were analyzed for each factor.
Results: Results indicated that the most influential factors on selection of a destination for medical tourism were “quality of care,” “cost” and “promotional programs,” results that indicate common sense. The least influential factor was “employer encouragement programs,” an indication that most medical tourists make a personal choice to embark on medical tourism and employer encouragement programs had lower priority in the decision making process.
Conclusion: This study highlights the most important influential factors on choice of destination among patients, internationally. According to these findings, hospitals providing a service internationally must provide a high quality service at affordable cost. Consideration of travelers’ priorities can be applied to develop performance and promotional activities that will attract more patients and increase medical treatment revenue in a country.


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