Identifying and Prioritizing Strategies for Developing Medical Tourism in the Social Security Organization of Iran: A SWOT-AHP Hybrid Approach
Background: The present study aimed to identify and prioritize strategies for medical tourism improvement in the Social Security Organization (SSO) of Iran.
Methods: Using Delphi method in the first step, we identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that Social Security Organization of Iran faces in medical tourism during 2017-2018. In the second step we interviewed 100 medical and tourism experts to identify proper strategies using SWOT method and finally prioritize strategies through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) by using Expert Choice software.
Results: The application of SWOT technique indicated that the dominant strategy for the Iranian SSO should be conservative. It should overcome its internal weaknesses and exploit its external opportunities. The Iranian Social Security Organization should arrange appropriate marketing in target countries, invest in international medical/hospital standards, boost the communicative competence of personnel in SSO hospitals and create multilingual web-based information to introduce the capabilities and costs of the hospitals.
Conclusion: Since the SSO’s weaknesses are more prominent than its strengths, thus SSO should plan to reduce its weaknesses to boost medical tourism. For this purpose, SSO should design coherent plans for attract medical tourists to the organization’s hospitals, attempt to upgrade hospital and medical centers standards, train the medical staff regarding linguistic and communicative skills, and run a user-friendly website to introduce its medical capabilities.
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