Volume 29, Issue 11 (1-2023)                   RJMS 2023, 29(11): 260-268 | Back to browse issues page

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Shirzad M, Aghaei M, Gharibnavaz N. The Role of Social Networks in the Behavior of Health Tourism Consumers. RJMS 2023; 29 (11) :260-268
URL: http://rjms.iums.ac.ir/article-1-7986-en.html
Assistant Professor, Center for Management Studies and Technology Development, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran; Business Management Department, Quds City Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran , m_aghaei@modares.ac.ir
Abstract:   (392 Views)
Background & Aims: Health tourism, also known as medical tourism or medical travel, refers to travel to another country or region to receive medical treatment, procedures or services. The concept of health tourism has gained popularity in recent years due to rising healthcare costs in developed countries, the availability of high-quality medical facilities in developing countries, and the ease of international travel. Health tourism can provide patients access to high quality medical treatments, reduce healthcare costs and improve their quality of life. However, it is important to carefully consider the risks and benefits of health tourism before deciding to travel for medical treatment. Patients should research the treatment facility and provider and ensure appropriate health insurance coverage prior to travel. In the meantime, one of the aspects investigated in the fields of health tourism has been the behavior of consumers of these services, as well as the effects of social networks on this behavior. One of the studied cases is in the field of consumer behavior in relation to social networks, which has been studied in various researches in recent years. In fact, social networks are one of the most used areas in recent years of social networks, which have greatly occupied various markets. In recent years, the amount of use of social networks in Iran has increased so much that the scope of using these networks has led to political debates and influencing the results of elections. In this research, considering the increasing role of social networks, its impact on health tourism has been investigated from the point of view of consumers of medical services in the form of medical tourists.
Methods: In terms of research methodology, the current research is applied, survey and correlation research. The statistical population of this research includes all social network users in medical centers providing health tourism services in Tehran. The size of the statistical population was 850 people during the study period, and using the Cochran formula, the sample size was determined to be 256 people. In order to measure the research variables, a questionnaire was used. The validity of this tool has been examined through construct validity, and reliability has been examined and confirmed using Cronbach's alpha coefficient. In the analysis method section, first the measurement model was formed and the fit of the model was examined based on the indicators. Finally, based on the structural modeling method, the relationships between the research variables were examined and the results were presented.  Amos software is used in this section.
Results: The results showed that the amount and type of use of social networks had a significant effect on the behavior before, during and after the use of health tourism services.
Conclusion: One of the ways social media can influence health tourism is by giving patients access to information about medical facilities and doctors in other countries. Patients can read reviews, watch videos and connect with others who have undergone similar treatments. This can help them make informed decisions about where to go for treatment and what to expect when they get there.
Another way social media can influence health tourism is by providing a platform for medical professionals to share their expertise and build their reputation. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers can use social media to showcase their skills, share educational content, and interact with patients and other professionals in their field. This can help them attract patients from other countries who are looking for quality care. On the other hand, social media can also have negative effects on health tourism. For example, false or misleading information can spread quickly on social media, which can lead to patients making poor decisions about where to seek treatment. In addition, some medical facilities and doctors may use social media to promote themselves in unethical ways, such as exaggerating the benefits of their treatments or making false claims about their qualifications. As a result, social media and health tourism are two distinct concepts that can interact in different ways. While social media can give patients access to valuable information and help medical professionals build their reputation, it can also pose risks for patients seeking accurate and reliable information about treatments and medical facilities in other countries. The relationship between the type and amount of use of social networks and the behavior of health tourists before, during and after the use of medical services was investigated. The results have shown that social networks can have a positive and direct effect on the behavior of consumers of health tourism services.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Public Health

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