Healthcare Strategy

Healthcare Marketing and Medical Tourism

Practical tools for understanding patient needs and preferences, developing a marketing plan, building your healthcare brand and growing revenues.

Programme Overview

Why would anyone choose to be treated by your healthcare facility? If your hospital or clinic is fortunate enough to have a reputation for excellence in a service that is highly specialised or scarce then you might never have given much thought to this question. Today, however, most healthcare facilities face increasing competition in the fight to attract patients and gain their loyalty – particularly when trying to tap the lucrative market for international medical tourists.

This unique programme enables anyone involved in marketing, promoting or advertising healthcare services – including those involved in facilitating medical tourism – to understand how and why prospective patients choose a healthcare provider. It provides comprehensive and holistic coverage of the entire discipline of marketing in healthcare, with a particular focus on the emerging phenomenon of medical tourism. Highly practical and relevant, the programme teaches you the tools and techniques with which healthcare facilities can develop and implement marketing plans capable of transforming their reputations and revenues.

The programme consists of two stages – 10 weeks of teaching followed by 16 weeks of one-to-one coaching to enable you to carry out a successful marketing project. Upon successful completion of both stages programme members are awarded the IHLM Professional Certificate in Healthcare Marketing and Medical Tourism.

What You Will Learn in This Programme

This ten module programme will provide you with the practical skills and knowledge required to be a highly effective healthcare marketing manager capable of exploring, creating, delivering and communicating your healthcare organisation’s value to the patients and populations you serve.

  • In Module 1 you will be introduced to the programme by briefly exploring what marketing is, why it matters in healthcare and why we approach it as we do.
  • In Modules 2, 3 and 4, on Value Exploration, you will learn how marketing managers carefully research their healthcare ‘marketplace’ and capture insights into both the broad environmental factors that affect it (which are usually beyond the manager’s control) and the behaviour of customers (which is much easier for a manager to influence). You will also learn how to analyse and deal with competitors.
  • In Modules 5 and 6, on Value Creation, you will discover how to use these market insights to develop a marketing strategy that will enable your healthcare organisation to compete successfully in your chosen markets. You will also discover how to create a valuable healthcare brand and build patient loyalty.
  • In Modules 7 and 8, on Value Delivery, you will explore how healthcare organisations go about building the resources, competencies and capabilities they need in order to exploit market opportunities and satisfy market requirements. It is in this part of the programme that we will look, in depth, at each element of the marketing mix that is used to create and deliver value to the patient.
  • In Module 9, on Value Communication, you will master how to design effective marketing communications that inform, persuade and remind healthcare consumers, directly or indirectly, about the healthcare services you provide. This module will include a detailed look at the digital marketing techniques that healthcare providers are adopting to reach both new and existing customers.
  • Finally, in Module 10, you will conclude the programme with a look at marketing metrics – ie, the key performance indicators healthcare organisations should use to measure the impact and effectiveness of their marketing strategies.

Who Is This Programme For?

This programme has been designed for anyone who is involved in marketing, promoting or advertising healthcare services, including those involved in facilitating medical tourism. It will be especially useful for:

  • healthcare marketing, communications, advertising and PR managers
  • directors, executives and managers from large healthcare organisations
  • owner-managers of independent hospitals, health centres and clinics
  • policy-makers and planners from health ministries and authorities
  • marketing consultants and advisers


There are no educational prerequisites for this programme. You can be from either a clinical or non-clinical background but should be working in an organisation or context where you will be have an opportunity to apply your learning to a healthcare marketing project. You should also be comfortable using a computer and writing and reading in English.

What Happens During the Programme?

IHLM’s online programmes build on our world-class faculty’s ability to convey complex concepts in ways that are simple and practical. Each of our online programmes features:

Live, Interactive Webinars

The first 10 weeks of the programme features live, interactive, two hour webinars delivered via our virtual Zoom classroom. These webinars provide the opportunity for interaction with both our faculty and the other programme members. The webinars take place every Thursday from 5.00pm – 7.00pm UK time and carry 2 CPD / CME credit hours each. To earn the credit hours associated with each webinar you must log-in and attend it live or watch the recording of the webinar in full.

Online Resources

The live webinars are supplemented by an online library of additional resources – including webinar recordings, other videos, podcasts, presentations, articles and case studies – that are hosted on the IHLM Extranet. To maximise the benefits of this programme you should spend some time studying these materials each week and completing the accompanying learning activities so you can check you have fully understood the content of the module.

Coached Healthcare Marketing Project

Every programme member is required to identify and undertake a healthcare marketing project through which they will not only get to practice their learning but will also be able to improve the way their healthcare organisation markets and advertises its services. It is through this project that you will maximise your professional impact and advance your career. You will be allocated a learning coach at the beginning of the programme who will provide one-to-one coaching via email and Zoom meetings during your project. This support is available for up to 16 weeks after the webinars finish.


Module 1 – An Introduction to Healthcare Marketing and Medical Tourism

In Module 1 we commence the programme with a look at some important fundamentals: the determinants of demand for healthcare services and how effective marketing can both raise that demand and drive it through the doors of your healthcare organisation.

  • What is Healthcare Marketing? – Marketing is pervasive in healthcare, but what is its purpose and what activities does it involve? How can you measure the effectiveness of your healthcare organisation’s marketing efforts?
  • What is Medical Tourism? – Understand how the medical tourism industry works and who the major players and facilitators are in this rapidly growing segment of the global healthcare market.

Module 2 – Understanding Patient Needs and Preferences

Whether they have to travel one mile or ten thousand miles to reach you, why would any patient choose to be treated at your healthcare facility? In Module 2 we answer this question through an in-depth exploration of the needs and preferences of healthcare’s customers.

  • Understanding Healthcare’s Customers – Understand what drives people to seek healthcare services and upon which factors they base their choice of healthcare provider.
  • Patients With Passports – Discover why so many patients travel, both within and beyond their own country, to find the care they need.

Module 3 – Developing a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is the strategic blueprint for how a healthcare organisation is going to succeed in attracting and retaining patients. In Module 3 we take a step-by-step look at the tools and techniques with which a comprehensive marketing plan can be developed.

  • How To Research Your Healthcare Market – Identify the methods you can use to gather information and intelligence that will enable you to understand your customers and your marketplace.
  • The Healthcare Marketing Environment – Analyse the characteristics of your healthcare marketplace today, and understand how they are changing.
  • Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning – Reflect on who your actual and potential patients are, on which patients are most attractive and how they can be convinced to choose your healthcare facility.

Module 4 – Implementing a Marketing Plan

In order to successfully attract patients, a healthcare organisation needs to position itself appropriately. In Module 4 we look at how successful healthcare providers use a ‘marketing mix’ to design their services and their image to occupy a distinctive place in the minds of both actual and potential patients.

  • Healthcare Product and Service Offerings – What do patients’ want and need, and how can healthcare providers satisfy them?
  • Pricing Strategies and Decisions – Not all patients pay for their care, but that doesn’t mean that price doesn’t play a critical role in attracting patients.
  • Referral Networks and Facilitators – What role can referrers and medical tourism facilitators play in directing patients to your healthcare facility?
  • Customer Service and the Patient Experience – Why do healthcare staff, and their behaviours, play such a critical role in patient satisfaction?
  • Patient Flows and Processes – No matter how professional and compassionate healthcare staff are, patients rarely tolerate chaotic or disorganised healthcare facilities.
  • The Healing Environment – What difference do aesthetics make in attracting patients?

Module 5 – Advertising Your Healthcare Services

Just being JCI accredited or having state-of-the-art medical technologies is no longer enough to attract patients to a healthcare facility. In Module 5 we look at how healthcare providers can use both mass and personal communications to grab and keep patients’ attention.

  • Branding and Brand Loyalty in Healthcare – What is a ‘brand’ and how to healthcare providers build valuable brands that patients trust and admire?
  • Healthcare Marketing Communications – Billboards advertising hospitals and clinics are commonplace in many towns and cities. But are they an effective way of marketing healthcare services? If not, what should we be doing instead?
  • Inbound Marketing and Social Media – Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, as well as electronic newsletters and blogs, have revolutionised marketing. What role can they play in drawing customers to your healthcare facility?


Course Factfile

  • Next session: 2 January 2024
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Commitment: 4-6 hours a week
  • Qualification: Certificate
  • Cost: £995
  • Location: Online

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