Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/11343
The Competitiveness of the Icelandic Medical Tourism Industry
A nation’s competitiveness depends on the capacity of its industries to innovate and upgrade where pressure and challenge motivate companies to gain advantage against the world’s best competitors. Since the collapse in 2008, Iceland’s competitiveness has been affected. Iceland needs to lay the foundations for a new and more sustainable economic growth path. One way of doing this is to place added emphasis on export-driven growth by developing more knowledge-based industries.
The objective of this research is to analyse such an industry; the competitiveness of the Icelandic medical tourism industry in general and of hip and knee surgery in particular. The competitiveness of the Icelandic medical tourism industry cluster is also examined in relation to its cluster formation. Strengths and weaknesses are identified by applying Michael E. Porter’s diamond creating a foundation for improvement initiatives.
The research is qualitative, in the form of in-depth interviews with eight executives working in the medical side of the private medical tourism industry. The results indicate that the Icelandic medical tourism industry is in many ways internationally competitive. It has a great many strengths; however, there are certain challenges that need to be addressed, some of which are temporary and others which will take longer to resolve. Medical tourism in Iceland is a fairly new industry and as such the cluster lacks depth. The analysis, therefore, suggests that the competitiveness of the Icelandic medical tourism industry can only to a limited extent be based on its cluster formation.
The findings on hip and knee surgery in Iceland indicate that the surgeries are internationally competitive. The orthopaedic field has a great many factors supporting its competitiveness; however, certain external factors have a negative impact on future growth and development in the private market, resulting in the service not being ready to be offered to foreigners. At the present time, there are two major hindrances; finance and securing a constant patient flow in order to maintain a sound and effective operation. If the industry is able to overcome those hindrances, the rest is just work.