CUED Publications database

Raising concern about the information provided on medical travel agency websites: A place for policy

Maguire, Á and Bussmann, S and Meier zu Köcker, C and Verra, SE and Giurgi, LA and Ruggeri, K (2016) Raising concern about the information provided on medical travel agency websites: A place for policy. Health Policy and Technology, 5. pp. 414-422. ISSN 2211-8837

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© 2016 Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine Patients are increasingly choosing to travel abroad for essential but non-urgent medical treatments, such as hip and heart valve replacements. Websites are frequently the first contact point with potential international service providers, such as medical travel agencies (MTAs). Yet only a few studies have previously assessed the standard of information provided on the websites of MTAs. This study examined the information provided by European MTA websites using a modified version of the Health on the Net (HON) code. A content analysis of the information collected assessed how the MTA websites promoted their services and communicated the risks, benefits and other issues related to medical travel. Twenty-seven websites based in thirteen different European countries were identified and coded using a modified version of the HON tool. Considerable inconsistencies across websites were noted on all domains assessed and no single item of the tool was addressed by all websites. The most frequently included item on websites was a contact form (74%), but no website provided information on risk rates, or used scientific references to support their claims. The promotion of benefits of medical travel coupled with the absence of risk communication was concerning. It is evident that there is a need for a policy which considers the regulation of MTAs and the information and services that they provide.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div C > Engineering Design
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:34
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2018 02:17