• Medical tourism;
  • health-seeking behavior;
  • qualitative



The purpose of this study was the exploration of international travel experiences for the purpose of medical or dental care from the perspective of patients from Alaska and to develop insight and understanding of the essence of the phenomenon of medical tourism.

Study Design and Methods

The study is conceptually oriented within a model of health-seeking behavior. Using a qualitative design, 15 Alaska medical tourists were individually interviewed. The data were analyzed using a hermeneutic process of inquiry to uncover the meaning of the experience.


Six themes reflecting the experiences of Alaska medical tourists emerged: “my motivation,” “I did the research,” “the medical care I need,” “follow-up care,” “the advice I give,” and “in the future.” Subthemes further categorized data for increased understanding of the phenomenon. The thematic analysis provides insight into the experience and reflects a modern approach to health-seeking behavior through international medical tourism.


The results of this study provide increased understanding of the experience of obtaining health care internationally from the patient perspective. Improved understanding of medical tourism provides additional information about a contemporary approach to health-seeking behavior.

Clinical Relevance

Results of this study will aid nursing professionals in counseling regarding medical tourism options and providing follow-up health care after medical tourism. Nurses will be able to actively participate in global health policy discussions regarding medical tourism trends.