Medical travel facilitators, private hospitals and international medical travel in assemblage

Chee Heng Leng, Andrea Mary Whittaker, Por Heong Hong

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7 Citations (Scopus)


International medical travel may be viewed as an ‘assemblage’ of various components such as infrastructure, hospitals, finance, transport, technologies, staff, facilitators and patients. In this paper, we focus on the articulations of medical travel facilitators (MTFs) and private hospitals in producing international medical travel in the context of the neoliberalising processes that had led to the rise of corporate hospital care in Malaysia in the 1990s. We draw from three hospital case studies for a comparative perspective. We highlight the shifting, unstable and contingent relations and interactions of the MTFs, as one component of the assemblage of international medical travel, with hospitals and medical travellers. We identify the practices of MTFs in providing patients with information and advice about hospitals and doctors as efforts to shape patients' choices in the selection of health-care providers and in decision-making. The assemblage approach allows us to see how the MTFs emerge and stabilise as a collective identity for individuals and companies performing particular functions through their multifarious articulations with other components in various sites of assemblage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-254
Number of pages13
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • assemblage
  • international medical travel
  • medical tourism
  • medical travel facilitators
  • neoliberalism

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