The gap analysis between perceptions and expectations in medical tourism in Tabriz: the prespective of providers and patients
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Introduction: Medical tourism represents a progressive industry, in which patients travel to other countries for medical services. Considering the importance of quality services in medical tourism, this study aimed to analyze the gap between the perceptions and expectations of medical tourists and providers of services in the medical centers of Tabriz Medical Tourism. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive-analytic study carried out at medical centers of medical tourism in Tabriz in 2016-2017. The data collection tool was a self adminstrate questionnaire that validity and reliability were evaluated. The target population, are non-Iranian medical tourists and providers in health centers. And the sample size based on the minimum acceptable value for intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Walter's formula was 160 medical tourists and 160 patients who were selected using multi-stage sampling. Data were analyzed by intera classcorrelation coeffisent, Wilcoxon pair analysis, Blund Altman charts and Logistic regression in Stata software. Result: In the systematic review, 137 factors of medical tourism satisfaction were categorized in six areas: "services, human resources, information, health, physical conditions, and equipment" In the gap analysis between perceptions and expectations of medical tourists Viewpoint, the ICC coefficient was 0.54. According to the non-parametric Wilcoxon test, there was a significant difference between perceptions and expectations. In the gap analysis between perceptions and expectations of the providers viewpoint, the ICC coefficient was 0.16. In the Wilcoxon test, it was shown that there was a significant difference between the mean of perceptions and expectations. According to the Blund Altman chart, the average difference was 33.8. Finally, the gap analysis between the perceptions and expectations of medical tourists and providers, showed that, ICC coefficient is 0.16. Which indicates a low agreement between the perceptions and expectations of service providers and medical tourists Conclusion: The results showed that the agreement between expectations and perceptions in medical tourism and providers viewpoint was low. In other words, there was a huge gap between the medical tourism and providers viewpoint. As a result of medical tourists’ viewpoint, the highest gap was the amount of payment expenses, that has led to a decrease in the number of medical tourists visiting Tabriz. It is proposed to monitor the quality of services provided, especially the costs, increase and transparency.