Factors Determining Competitiveness in Healthcare Institutions in Latvia – Results of the EKOSOC-LV National Research Programme

Open access

Abstract

Competitiveness as a factor of a company selling its services in the market is becoming more relevant in the healthcare sector. The number of institutions that offer their services to international patients is growing. Research shows that the development of medical tourism is country-specific. The main objective of this publication is to discover positive and negative factors for engagement in the provision of services to non-residents. The data was obtained from a cross-sectional study in which 86 managers of health care institutions in Latvia completed a questionnaire. A total of 80.2% of health care institutions had provided services to non-resident patients in the previous year while 19.8% did so regularly. Institutions mainly used websites to advertise their services. Only a small number of institutions employed a marketing specialist or had a strategy to attract non-resident patients. Heads of institutions pointed to a number of internal and external barriers in this connection, including lack of staff, low motivation, limited language skills, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient state-level support to promote the export of services, the social environment, and problems in the health system itself. The study revealed areas that need to be improved regarding future policies to attract non-resident patients and to increase global competitiveness.

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