Identifying and Prioritizing Barriers to Health Tourism Using the Analytical Hierarchy Process

Document Type : Brief Report


1 Health Management Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Health Services Management, Tehran North Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Iran offers many advantages for health tourism, e.g., low costs, high quality healthcare, qualified doctors, and abundant natural attractions, but there are also obstacles to the development of health tourism in Iran. This study aimed to identify and prioritize the barriers to health tourism in hospitals affiliated with Tehran University of Medical Sciences.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the first 6 months of 2016. Six main components were identified based on experts’ opinions; then, based on these components, a questionnaire for pairwise comparison was produced and completed by the same experts. The Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) model was used to prioritize the identified factors.
Results: Results showed that among the barriers to health tourism in the investigated hospitals, the most important obstacle is the unfamiliarity of medical staff with foreign languages with a weight of 0.268. Lack of manpower and inappropriate physical were ranked second and third in priority with weights of 0.214 and 0.157, respectively.
Conclusion: Considering the available capacities and potentials, effective and impressive steps can be taken to economically develop the medical tourism industry in Iran.


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