© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between country-of-origin (COO) and brand positioning in the context of the high-involvement service of health care. This paper compares and analyzes different positioning strategies used in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses content analysis of promotional materials for a sample of 168 health-care organizations located in 14 countries to identify brand positioning strategies used, such as foreign, local and global consumer culture positioning. A chi-square analysis and post hoc testing is used to examine how positioning strategies differ among regions. Findings: The findings indicate that European and Middle Eastern health-care organizations most frequently use foreign consumer culture positioning, while North American institutions tend to use global consumer culture positioning. The findings indicate that health-care organizations in countries with a better reputation for care use different positioning strategies than in countries with a lesser reputation for quality care. Practical implications: The findings are of value to international advertising and marketing professionals and hospitals seeking to attract patients globally in a competitive marketplace. Hospitals must consider their positioning relative to both domestic and international competitors and the COO of their target audience. Originality/value: COO is important in high-involvement service industries because consumers lack the information needed to evaluate service quality. Consumers may rely on COO and brand positioning signals more heavily relative to goods or low-involvement services. However, little prior research exists examining COO effects and brand positioning for high involvement services and for health care specifically. This paper makes a unique contribution by filling this gap.