Dr Prem Medical Tourism Logo

A Guide On How To Get International Patients In Medical Tourism By Dr Prem- Understanding Patients, Organic Growth, Communication, Viable Marketing, And Dos and Don’ts

Guide On How To Get Patients In Medical Tourism By Dr Prem

Getting international patients in medical tourism has always been the biggest challenge. Even a promising global medical tourism market doesn’t make everything rosy.Quality leads don’t come easily.  Growing complexities in medical tourism are making things tough. Plus, there are several other factors that influence the decision-making of medical tourists. But this doesn’t mean you will miss the bus as medical tourism is steadily picking up after the pandemic.

What strategies should you take to acquire international patients in medical tourism? This medical tourism guide helps you with the details and some eye-opening fact sensuring a steady trickle of medical tourists.

A Guide On How To Get International Patients In Medical Tourism By Dr Prem- Understanding Patients, Organic Growth, Communication, Viable Marketing, And Dos and Don’ts

Do you understand your patients and their needs in medical tourism?

Senior male orthopedist examining patient's back in clinic

How can you get patients in medical tourism if you are not sure who they are and what they need?  Even better, know what they want before they do. Patient’s needs are not only the obvious ones that strike our minds first but are much deeper than you can think of.  63% of customers expect businesses to understand their unique needs and expectations. Patients come to you with many said and unsaid needs. Sometimes, they may also not have a clear understanding of these.

For example, a patient looking for a specific orthopedic surgery like knee or hip replacement may not know what support services they will need before and after the surgery. As a medical tourism facilitator or agency, if you can explain to them clearly their immediate and future needs apart from the treatment procedure, certainly it would be a beneficial deal for both sides.

The patient will be well-informed and well-prepared without any mental blockade. The bond of cooperation builds up contributing to a pleasant experience in medical tourism. Failing to understand the hidden needs means either you lose them at the start or make them face several hurdles in the journey spoiling the experience. Here are some techniques to understand the patient’s needs in medical tourism:

  • Know their background, healthcare system, and practices

Happy doctor encouraging young man

From where your patients are coming? What type of healthcare they are used to and how can you fill the gap? What is their cultural orientation? Which practices do they follow? What are they comfortable at? Do they speak or follow your language? Cultural and language issues are conspicuous in medical tourism. A patient from the US will not have the same needs as that from the UAE. Just providing the language support will not help in understanding other deeper needs of your prospective medical tourist.

  • Create more accurate customer profiling

social media platform

The first step is to create a focused patient/customer profile based on demographics and culture. But this does not give you enough information to create messages that will resonate with their emotions. Check the analytics to see from which social media platforms or forums they are coming.

Also create a No-go profile about customers who will not buy your product/service. People hate unwanted ads that do not serve their purpose in any way.Half of the adults online block unwanted ads in mobile or desktops, nearly double the numbers of 2015

How personalized information matter to get international patients in medical tourism?

Customer giving rating feedback to service experience

Patients do not like generalized information because their individual needs are very unique. The era is to connect personally and meaningfully. Personalization provides more satisfaction to customers and 93% of them are likely to make a repeat purchase. Moreover, 90% of customers are likely to be more willing to buy your service.

Curate information based on your patients’ interests. Scour patients’ behavior from data. Know their likings and objectives. If a patient is just interested in a specific treatment, provide information based on that only. Sending a barrage of information about other packages and deals means you are blocking their valuable time in projects that they are not at all interested. Send personalized emails and messages by considering their age, profession, cultural orientation, lifestyle, and unique needs.

You can create an automated response system based on specific inputs from the patients. Don’t stop here. Provide additional contact support service if your prospective patients demand more personalization. Never fail to take feedback to know whether they are satisfied with the information even if they do not make a purchase.

How will you communicate to get international patients in medical tourism?

Empathy and comfort

People do not want to get sold. Talk the way, so the patients love you. They should enjoy spending time talking to you or surfing your website.47% of consumers feel the health information they find is only meant for sale, not for their benefit.

You need to be aware of the patient’s background, their general habits, and their current emotional state. Patients and customers are more worried about their basic needs and challenges. A patient amid tremendous suffering may not be willing to talk much.

They may sound irritating and annoyed. Give a patient listening to their urgent needs and display your compassion to work out the right solution. Ease their agony with comforting words without going overboard. You can choose lean communication but make sure the patient likes it.

Remember, compassionate communication is the game-changer. Compassion builds emotional connection. Unfortunately, 71% of businesses are said to be struggling with the customer-centricity gap.

How a Multicultural Patient Coordinator Team Helps in Attracting International Patients?

hyper-personalized assistance

International patient acquisition in medical tourism means you need to groom a culturally competent team to deal with multi-cultural and multi-lingual patients. This team will serve as a bridge between patients and healthcare providers with hyper-personalized assistance.

It will include but not restricted to understanding their medical records, customs and beliefs making them feel respected and heard. The members should be empathetic with every need and wants of patients fostering trust and comfort.

The patients should get the desired mental peace. It is the team’s expertise in understanding cultural nuances that enhance patient experiences by several notches making the provider and facilities more appealing to international patients. This approach helps streamline communication along with reflecting a strong commitment to culturally inclusive patient-centric care.

How to focus on niche markets for patient acquisition in medical tourism?

niche markets for patient acquisition

Targeting niche markets is a strategic approach for international patient acquisition else it will lead to unnecessary resource drainage. Identify specific medical needs underserved or unavailable in certain regions, such as advanced cosmetic surgery, oncology services, fertility treatments, or holistic wellness programs. Leverage data analytics to identify these niche segments where you can have an edge over others.

Develop specialized packages that cater to these unique demands, emphasizing your expertise and success rates in these areas. Utilize targeted marketing strategies, like SEO and social media campaigns, to reach these specific demographics.

Collaborate with niche specialists (like cardiologists, oncologists, cosmetologists, etc), international healthcare agents, and niche travel agencies who can refer patients seeking these niche services. These channelized efforts can attract a dedicated client base seeking specialized, high-quality care.

How to focus on organic growth to get international  patients in medical tourism?

Online heath care and medical doctor consultation for remote diagnosis, digital prescription and therapy with internet and computer. Patient using laptop at home.

A great website, Google listing, giving ads, etc. are the basic steps to growing organic traffic for your business. People will come to know of you and your services. In a crowded market, when everybody is doing the same thing, you need to do it differently.

Here are some unique ideas:

  • Focus on building a community. Members of your community will not only talk to each other but also make others talk about you.
  • Give time to relationship building through smart networking activities. Join forums. Participate in events and make your presence felt.This will help in building trust and upholding your brand.
  • Build online engagements with your patients. Talk about their problems. Encourage themto share their issues more and show your sincere efforts in solving their issues.
  • Strive to show your content through zero-click searches. This means your audience should get what they are looking for only by searching the query without clicking any third-party website.
  • Experiment with your content marketing strategies. Your efforts should be more on inbound content marketing in medical tourism based on the latest and emerging trends.
  • What you do must get reflected online via your website, testimonials, and social media reviews. All these efforts help in building online reputation in medical tourism which in turn will fuel your organic growth. 

The first mover gets more patients in medical tourism 

competitive advantage

Medical tourism trends are getting unique with improved accessibility to cutting-edge treatments and wellness therapies. And you need to be the ‘early bird’ to catch the worm. Remember, the first bold movers always enjoy loyalty and brand leadership the most.

Be a mindful watcher and find what you can do that others are not doing or can’t even imagine. It will be a hurdle at the start to make your unique proposition acceptable to your potential customers, but once you get a few to experience your uniqueness, there will be no looking back. Your authority and reliability will get established. You will enjoy the competitive advantage.

Simple processes win patients in medical tourism 

patient interaction

Patients already under stress hate complicated processes and confusing communication.According to statistics, 55%of customers are not only willing to pay for simpler experiences but 64% of them are likely to recommend brands offering that.Unfortunately, processes in medical tourism get deeply complicated as patient interaction increases.

The providers or facilitators fail to explain things clearly as they always follow a one-approach-fits-for-all policy. Medical tourists are either confused with a barrage of information that they do not need or are unable to comprehend the sequential steps involved.

Many times, patients are not fully aware of their needs that adds to the confusion.Keep the buying process simple, especially at the start, enabling them in fast and easy decision-making. You can tap the complexity ethically after careful observance of the patient’s behavior and preferences. 

Are you building your online reputation to get international patients in medical tourism?

online reputation

Online reputation can make your break your business. A majority of medical tourism interactions and transactions happen online. Therefore, what your customers are saying about you matters. More than 90% of consumers check online reviews before making a purchase and 85% of consumers trust online reviews just as personal recommendations.

Getting patient feedback, testimonials, and reviews is the first step to building an online reputation in medical tourism.Positive reviews can take you to new highs while negative reviews can bring down your reputation. Patients may not be willing to give reviews even after a great experience. You will have to devise pathways to get reviews without creating any friction. Positive reviews are hard to get but negative reviews come easily. People are more likely to share their negative experiences than positive experiences.

Here are the following steps to get more positive reviews:

Spark the patient experience in the first step

Doctor with a stethoscope on the smartphon

The patient must get the feel that they have come to the right place in the first interaction. They should feel inspired to take the next steps to get rid of their suffering.This interaction can happen through your website or a direct phone call. Website user experience plays a great role here and how your sales reps handle the first call can make a big difference. The fact is, 87% of customers will talk to others about the good experience they had with you.

Show your care and concern

Display your care and concern whenever a patient reaches out to you. Scale your conversation intelligence so that your patients feel loved, respected, and cared for.

Uphold your reputation, never fall from grace

Do you know it takes 40 positive reviews to counterbalance 1 negative review?And 94% of people avoid businesses if they find a single negative review. Zero review doesn’t prove anything good or bad, therefore never serves any purpose. Put your best efforts to get positive reviews and higher ratings.  If you get any negative review, act smartly to address the issue.

Why partnerships and referrals are crucial to getting international patients in medical tourism?


Partnerships do not grow in a day. The massive effort that goes into building partnerships drives businesses to consider it as the last priority. But statistics say, 57% of businesses build partnerships for customer acquisition. Medical tourism involves so many steps medical and nonmedical that you can’t think of putting it ontheback burner.

Partnerships and referrals can influence massively in patient’s decision-making. Trust and relationships build over time in partnerships, making your business sustainable.  High-maturity partnerships generate 28% of revenue compared to 18% revenue from paid search. 

Your patient acquisition may get stuck without partnerships and networking. Forge strategic partnerships to create more value for your patients and customers by leveraging each other’s strong points. 

What are the viable and sustainable marketing strategies to get international patients in medical tourism?

viable medical and wellness tourism marketing in hard times

Most marketers simply waste money on high-cost ads. Tweak ads with unique keywords. Look for low-cost ad posting opportunities. Follow Dr Prem’s 7Ps of viable marketing. The acquisition cost of an international medical tourist can be between 1000-2000 INR and can be even higher based on treatments.

Avoid mindless marketing spending

It eats up a chunk of your revenue. Leverage free and low-cost channels to promote your brand. Use experience marketing for brand awareness. Create amazing, informative, and useful content to attract patients’ attention. Do you know content marketing incurs 62% less cost than other forms of marketing and generates 3 times the leads?

Be in your customers’ minds

customer engagement

Marketing is a non-stop effort.If you are out of sight, you are out of your customers’ minds. Tweak your ads regularly with optimized spending. Keep engaging with your customers. Loyal customers are 70% more likely to convert through an Ad. 

Be a click away from your patients

How will your patients or customers see you?Be creative in putting Ad texts with a humane tone. Choose simple keywords that best explain your business philosophy. The fact is, more than 50% of smartphone users came across a new brand while searching with their device.

How integrated marketing approach to get patients in medical tourism? 

integrated marketing

Most marketing efforts fail due to the siloed approach. Integrated marketing means using all suitable channels for marketing. Without integrated marketing, you will fail to engage with a particular market segment(s). You will miss potential business. Deliver a unified message across all digital channels to establish your cause.  Integrated marketing can outperform by a staggering 300% than single- or dual-channel marketing.

Do you know AI can also help in lead generation in medical tourism?

AI can also help in lead generation

AI-based lead generation is the future of marketing. It gives new insights and leads to better conversions.Do you know how resource-intensive the traditional lead generation process is? It takes minimum half of the marketing budget, and still nearly 79% of leads cannot be converted.

This is mainly due to a lack of proper customer insights. Random targeting on guesstimates do not work in modern day marketing where the competition is very high. AI-powered tools can analyze voluminous data and give you insights quickly. They do not get overwhelmed with information overload and supply marketers a systematic picture of what is needed.

You understand your patients’ behavior and choices in advance and curate your marketing messages. Therefore, when patients reach out to you, you will be in better position to handle them and convert.

If you are not using AI tools, you are running behind your competition. 80% of marketers with automation software generate as much as 451% more leads and 77% of them see more conversions. 

What mistakes should you avoid to get international patients in medical tourism?

medical error

As countries strive to become a medical hub where tourists come to seek medical help, they are in turn entering a competitive market. Each country wanting to be a medical destination would employ several marketing strategies so as to boost the number of medical tourists. In doing so, it is important to avoid some common mistakes, which countries can make while trying to boost their tourists’ numbers.

Create complicated websites

woman frustrated with the website

An online home base in the form of a website is the most important medium through which potential patients can be attracted. An effective website should assist in increasing traffic to your website and possess the ability to transform them into effective leads. In a bid to create an effective website, businesses can get carried away. In the end, they may make the mistake of creating a complicated website.

For instance, the website may have a type of design in one page and a totally different one in the next page. This can be a real put-off for visitors to the website. Any interested visitor on the website might want to look for contact information.

Many websites make the mistake of making contact information inconspicuous or hidden in the corner of the webpage. Do not make the mistake of omitting your local area and country code. Remember that you are reaching out to an international community.

Trying to please everyone

creating a niche

One other mistake to avoid when trying to attract medical tourists would be to try and devise packages for all kinds of patients and all types of ailments. Doing so will only render an image of being wishy-washy. Tourists may doubt your specialized expertise in any one particular medical ailment.

What would be more practical would be to focus on creating a niche so that specialized help can be rendered effectively and efficiently. This can be done by first identifying the target medical tourists and also coming up with the area of specialization you want to deal with. This way, you can become an expert at providing help for few medical ailments at top-notch quality.

Failure to acknowledge psychological needs of patients

acknowledge the questions

Many medical facilities fail to address the concerns medical tourists may have regarding their psychological state of affairs. A potential medical tourist may have questions that go beyond wanting factual information. Medical companies should acknowledge this and address these issues.

With today’s competition in the field of medical tourism, it is important for companies to know what commercial mistakes to avoid so as not to lose out on attracting medical tourists to their destinations.

Prioritizing Cost Over Benefits


Affordability is a prime driver of medical tourism but it can backfire if not placed properly. Mentioning the cost before explaining benefits can be repelling for patients. It might raise concerns about quality and safety leading patients to question the overall value proposition. 

While communicating the cost, place it along with your superior medical expertise, cutting-edge treatment, and state-of-the-art facilities displaying your commitment to patient well-being. Highlight the cost to justify the benefits and a way to accessible and non-compromising quality care.

Setting Unrealistic Timelines

Smiling adult female doctor reporting medical results to young girl patient

Marketing messages with “Zero waiting time” and “Quick Recovery” often create unrealistic patient expectations. Specify the timeline for every step be it a doctor visit or getting diagnostic reports. Set clear expectations about the recovery period and outcomes highlighting potential variations based on specific circumstances. Provide supporting resources to help patients get a realistic idea.

Half-Hearted Follow-Up: The Silent Killer of Trust


Many medical tourism businesses fall into the ‘one-and-done’ trap. Once the patient is back home after the procedure, communication dwindles. What is left is mostly a half-hearted approach followed by unanswered queries or delayed responses. This disappoints the patients and erodes the trust built during the initial phase. Patients may feel helpless and anxious being unsure where to turn to in case of any post-treatment difficulty or complication. Maintain the communication chain through personalized emails and assure your support till full recovery.

Inadequate Language Support

Language and cultural barriers that you may face

Many medical tourism businesses and facilities offer basic translation services that fail to comprehend the nuances of medical terminology and cultural context. This often leads to serious miscommunication. The patients not only feel anxious and uncomfortable, but it also impacts the outcomes. Have a good medical translation system comprising human translators and advanced AI.

Important tips to draw medical tourism referrals to your hospital, clinic or health resort

Side view of caucasian Male speaker speaks in business seminar at conference

Referrals are also great to get patients in medical tourism. In fact, referrals in medical tourism are very common as patients find some sort of comfort and trust in this process. But getting this is not easy either. Who will refer you and why? There should be longstanding trust and reliability from your business activities to attract referrals. You need to engage in some meaningful activities that serve a good purpose.

People generally choose countries like India, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore for medical travel to get their treatment at very low prices. You need to attract medical tourism referrals to your hospitals, clinics or health resorts. Attending conferences and congresses related to medical tourism would not allow you to get your referrals to a specific hospital or medical facilities. Contacting probable referrals to a specific clinic, hospital or health resorts would require more efforts and time, in addition to a few simple ways given below:

Some companies even go to the extent of having different numbers of the referring process, transfers, including patient referrals, direct appointments, consultations, status update, patient records and test results. In addition to setting up all access lines, you would need to maintain the same in order to shun excessive hold times, busy signals and disconnected calls. You can increase the number of referrals for your hospital in addition to maintain the old ones successfully.

Expand your Outreach

personal visits to surgeons

Be determined enough to expand the boundaries of your facility in order to attract more referrals. Conduct service clinics with the help of specialists in distant communities and areas in order to improve your exposure to more clients.

Make personal visits to physicians who can be potential referrals. Address their concerns, collect their inputs, and increase their awareness about the salient features of your healthcare facility. A positive relationship would definitely increase the number of referrals.

Set up Access Lines

how easy access to medical records help patients in medical tourism

Another way to increase the number of referrals to your hospital or health care facility is to set up easy access lines in different countries in the form of call centers or dedicated referral lines. This would mean setting up different numbers, one each for patients, practicing doctors and referring physicians.

Some organizations even go to the extent of having different numbers allocated for different services of the referring process, including patient referrals, transfers, immediate appointments, consultations, patient records, status updates and even test results.And in addition to setting up some or all of these access lines, you would need to maintain the same in order to avoid excessive hold times, busy signals and disconnected calls. This way, you can increase the number of referrals for your hospital in addition to successfully maintain the old ones.

Get in touch with Transfer Centers

patient need immediate medical care

Transfer centers are usually the first facilities to receive calls for patient transfers from hospitals or outlying areas. These centers also get calls related to transferring patients who need immediate medical care.

Keeping in touch with these transfer centers would make you one of the foremost emergency responders for these centers, and would automatically increase the number of referrals you get, in addition to minimizing the chances of patients being dumped into your hospital from other hospitals.

How Dr Prem’s  Medical Tourism Consultancy can help you get international patients in medical tourism faster?

Dr Prem has an extensive network

 Dr Prem is a globally recognized medical tourism consultant having client base in over 45 countries. With a travelling experience to 65+ countries and interaction with global leaders and experts, Dr Prem has unique understanding of the challenges in international patient acquisition in medical tourism. His insightful vision can spot opportunities in areas overlooked by others.

His strategies encompass:

1. High-quality lead generation by connecting with the right patients 

  • Identifying potential medical tourists through targeted research
  • Using advanced AI for lead refinement
  • Creating purposeful and attractive landing pages for lead generation.
  • Strategies for lead nurturing.
  • Setting lead generation touchpoints.
  • Relationship building with international providers and facilitators.

2. Lean and viable marketing

  • Efficient market segmentation
  • Creating customized marketing plans for each segment
  • Leveraging data-driven insights for better customer understanding
  • Targeted investment in low-cost ads for ensured ROI.
  • Relationship management

3. Building trust and credibility through online reputation

  • Creating an attractive online presence
  • Planning strategies for patient engagement and user generated content
  • Performance showcase with patient reviews and testimonials
  • Leveraging right social platforms for enhanced engagement.

4. Creative Ads that inspire action

  • Aesthetically designed informative and inspiring Ad content
  • Leveraging various ad formats.
  • Testing and iteration of ads for optimal performance

5. Strategies for delightful patient experience

  • Identifying friction points and resolving them for a hassle-free patient journey.
  • Strategies for personalized care and communication throughout the patient’s journey.
  • Implementing proper follow-up and feedback systems for long-term relationships and word of mouth referrals.

Recent Articles:

Scroll to Top