All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

S Robert Hernandez

Advisory Committee Members

K Ria Hearld

Amy Landry

Katherine Meese

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Executive Doctor of Science (DSc) School of Health Professions


Medical travel has been growing at a steady rate as global travel has also increased. However, with the advent of COVID-19, all global travel came to a screeching halt, including travel intended for medical purposes across borders. Now that travel is resuming worldwide, American hospital administrators are anxious to fill their beds with more profitable, international patients to make up for revenue losses incurred during the pandemic. Existing literature on the topic of medical tourism focuses on the role of patient initiative, choice, and risk-taking behaviors with little mention of hospital leadership’s ability or desire to construct a management strategy, assign resources toward international patient programs, or attract international patients. The purpose of this study was to assess the responsiveness to prospective international medical travelers, the language of those responses, and the structure of the top-ranked 250 hospitals in the United States (US) to determine predictors for those hospitals best poised to attract higher-paying patients from beyond the country’s borders. Contingency theory was used as a theoretical framework by which to assess the differentiation within the external environment which moderates the internal organization of US hospitals in order to fit the needs of international medical travelers. As most international medical travelers seek care outside their home countries for non-urgent medical issues due to cost, quality, or accessibility issues, this study can be used as part of the strategies needed to improve hospital profitability by looking outside national borders to attract more profitable international medical travelers.



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