Transnational health care: From a global terminology towards transnational health region development

Tomas Mainil, Francis van Loon, Keith Dinnie, David Botterill, Vincent Platenkamp, Herman Meulemans

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Within European cross-border health care, recent studies have identified several types of international patients. Within the Anglo-Saxon setting, the specific terminology of medical tourism is used. The analytical purpose of the paper is to resolve this semantic difference by suggesting an alternative terminology, ‘transnational health care’ that is understood as a ‘context-controlled and coordinated network of health services’. For demand-driven trans-border access seekers and cross-border access searchers, there is a need to opt for regional health-policy strategies. For supply-driven sending context actors and receiving context actors, there would be organizational benefits to these strategies.

    Applying the terminology of trans-border access seekers, cross-border access searchers, sending context and receiving context actors results in a transnational patient mobility typology of twelve types of international patients, based on the criteria of geographical distance, cultural distance and searching efforts, public/private/no cover and private/public provision of health services. Finally, the normative purpose of the paper is to encourage the use of this terminology to promote a policy route for transnational health regions. It is suggested that the development of transnational health regions, each with their own medical and supportive service characteristics, could enhance governmental context-controlled decision power in applying sustainable health destination management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-44
    JournalHealth Policy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Transnational health care


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