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Global health policy and access to care: investigating patient choice on an international level using social media

Zhukovsky, Peter; Ruggeri, Kai; Garcia-Garzon, Eduardo; Plakolm, Sara; Haller, Elisa; Petrova, Dafina; Mahalingam, Vaishali; Menezes, Igor G.

Authors

Peter Zhukovsky

Kai Ruggeri

Eduardo Garcia-Garzon

Sara Plakolm

Elisa Haller

Dafina Petrova

Vaishali Mahalingam



Abstract

Background: Increased access to transportation and information has led to the emergence of more diverse patient choice and new forms of health care consumption, such as medical travel. In order for health care providers to effectively attract patients, more knowledge is needed on the mechanisms underlying decision-making of potential travelers from different countries. A particularly promising method of studying the travelers’ motives is collecting data on social media.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to test what factors influence decision-making of potential medical travelers and how these factors interact. Based on existing literature, the factors analyzed included quality, cost, and waiting time for 2 procedures varying in invasiveness across 12 different destination countries.

Methods: Decision-making patterns were examined using a pilot questionnaire that generated a large amount of data from over 800 participants in 40 countries. Participants indicated their willingness to travel given different scenarios. Each scenario consisted of a combination of several factors. Additionally, participants were asked to indicate the reasons for their choice.

Results: Individuals display high willingness to travel for medical care when combining all participants and scenarios, travel for care was chosen 66.9% of the time. Among the factors influencing their decisions, quality of the medical procedure abroad was considered most important, and cost was least important as shown by chi-square tests and corresponding odds ratios. Log-linear analyses revealed an interaction between time waiting in the local health care system and type of procedure, whereby time pressure increased the odds of agreeing to travel for the more invasive procedure. The odds of traveling to Europe and the USA were by far the highest, although participants indicated that under certain conditions they might be willing to travel to other medical destinations, such as Asia.

Conclusion: Our measurements yielded several reliable insights into the factors driving medical decision-making. An essential next step would be to expand these findings with a more encompassing sample and more elaborate statistical modeling.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 25, 2016
Journal Frontiers in Public Health
Print ISSN 2296-2565
Electronic ISSN 2296-2565
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Article Number 284
APA6 Citation Zhukovsky, P., Ruggeri, K., Garcia-Garzon, E., Plakolm, S., Haller, E., Petrova, D., …Menezes, I. G. (2016). Global health policy and access to care: investigating patient choice on an international level using social media. Frontiers in public health, 3, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2015.00284
DOI https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2015.00284
Keywords Medical travel; Public health policy; Decision-making; Destination; Cost; Quality; Factors
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.3389%2Ffpubh.2015.00284
Additional Information Copyright: © 2016 Zhukovsky, Ruggeri, Garcia-Garzon, Plakolm, Haller, Petrova, Mahalingam and Menezes. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright: © 2016 Zhukovsky, Ruggeri, Garcia-Garzon, Plakolm, Haller, Petrova, Mahalingam and Menezes. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.





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