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Title: The Lived Experience of Seeking Health Care Through Medical Tourism: An Interpretive Phenomenological Study of Alaskan Traveling Internationally for Medical & Dental Care. 
Author: Eissler, LeeAnn
Date: 2010
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: Purpose:
A growing number of people from many countries are traveling internationally to obtain medical care. The purpose of this study is twofold: (a) to explore the experiences of international travel for the purpose of medical or dental care from the perspective of patients from Alaska and (b) to develop insight and understanding of the essence of this phenomenon.

Study Design and Methods:
The study is conceptually oriented within a model of health seeking behavior. Using a qualitative, interpretive phenomenological design, a purposive sample of fifteen Alaskan medical tourists who have experienced international travel for the objective of medical or dental care were individually interviewed. The data was analyzed using a hermeneutic process of inquiry to uncover the essential meaning of the experience.

The hermeneutic analysis of the participants’ narrative accounts allowed the themes of Motivation, Research, Obtaining Care, Follow-up, Advice, and Future Health Care to emerge. Sub-themes are used to further categorize data for increased understanding. The thematic analysis provides insight into the essential structure of the lived experience of the medical tourism phenomenon. Improved understanding of medical tourism provides further information about a modern approach to health seeking behavior. The conceptual definition and model for health seeking behavior are updated.

Increased understanding of the experience of obtaining health care internationally and motivation for this nature of health seeking behavior from the patient perspective is needed in the global health care arena. Nursing professionals will benefit by being better able to advocate for patients’ choices in health seeking behavior, counsel regarding medical tourism options, provide follow-up health care after medical tourism, and actively participate in global health policy discussions.
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
LC Subject Headings: Self-esteem in adolescence.

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