Medical Tourism web sites: Determinants of Perceived Usefulness of Online Information Content
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- Studentoppgaver (SV-NHS) 
Medical tourism has evolved into a niche industry for several developing counties that have invested in high quality health care facilities and advanced medical expertize accompanied with the traditional tourism infrastructure, in order to attract international patients. Several factors such as increasing medical care costs in the developed nations, congestion of national health care systems, the affordability of air transportations and the development of information and communications technology have supported the growth in patient mobility. The rise of the internet in particular has supported the emergence of medical tourism facilitator web sites that support prospective medical travelers in their decision making process. Prospective medical tourists engage in online information search behavior in order to evaluate alternative choices. A crucial aspect of their interaction with online information systems is the information retrieval and evaluation process. This study builds on general online consumer behavior in order to examine the performance of medical tourism facilitator (MTFs) in providing information that is considered important by medical travelers and to identify the level of influence of various information content factors on the overall perceived usefulness of information. Furthermore the proposed model integrates subjective attitudes and expectations towards medical tourism as antecedents of the information evaluation process. The findings of the study indicate that word of mouth from peer patients is the most important determinant of the overall usefulness perceptions followed by information concerning the quality and effectiveness of the treatments. The effect of the above factors on perceived usefulness of information is also shown to be influenced by experiential/hedonic orientation towards medical tourism consumption.
Master's thesis in International Hospitality Management