Type of Medical Travelers and They Characteristics

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To develop a successful medical travel program, it is important to understand who are your medical travel patients? What are their characteristics, needs and expectations? Why is this important? For marketing communications certainly, and most importantly, for optimizing the patient journey.

Below we will look at the different types of medical travellers, some general characteristics and payers.

Types of Medical Travellers

  • Patients who travel to the destination program from another country
  • Patients who travel from within the same country 
  • Expats living in the area
  • Tourists who require medical services

General Characteristics / Considerations

  • Oftentimes they must travel long distances to access medical care
  • They can range from budget conscious to wealthy
  • Oftentimes they are not familiar with your country, language, customs & culture
  • Their diagnosis (DX) or corroboration of the DX must be performed remotely
  • They may not be familiar with the medical travel process
  • They may arrive stressed & fearful since this is a strange/new situation
  • Oftentimes they will recover in a hotel setting
  • They may travel with a spouse or companion


As far as how they will pay for treatment, typically it will be under one of the following modalities:

It is important to keep in mind that the type of payer may impact the nature of the patient journey and consequently your interactions with the patient. 

For example, a self-pay patient seeking care abroad is likely making all decisions (possibly with the assistance of a facilitator agency) and evaluating different providers before making a decision.

In the case of a government or employer-sponsored patient, the chosen healthcare facility and many of the logistics will have already been taken care of for the patient.