Medical Tourism In India

Source: Indian Journal Of Medical Ethics

Medical tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry promoted by governments across the world. Worldwide, Thailand, Hungary, and India are leaders as the most preferred medical tourist destination by volume of care. Over the years, India has grown to become a top-notch destination for medical value travel because it scores high in a range of factors that determines the overall quality of care. 

India has 33 JCI accredited hospitals. Promoted by the government and fuelled by the corporate boom in medical care, India is now seen as the favoured destination of “medical tourists” who cross national boundaries to seek treatment that is cheaper than their home countries. Medical tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry promoted by governments across the world. Worldwide, Thailand, Hungary, and India are leaders as the most preferred medical tourist destination by volume of care. Over the years, India has grown to become a top-notch destination for medical value travel because it scores high in a range of factors that determines the overall quality of care. 

Patients travel abroad for medical treatment for a variety of reasons. Data available in public domain inform that visitors from as many as 55 countries come to India for treatment, and the highest numbers are from the United Kingdom and The United States of America. The elite from developing countries also seek treatments that are not available in their own countries. Thus, private hospitals in India see an influx of patients from Bangladesh and the Gulf. Chennai has been termed as “India’s Health Capital’. It attracts about 45% of health tourists and 30-40% of domestic health tourist. After providing initial & immediate treatment and medical attention to international patients, continued care is provided via telemedicine too.

The quality of care and the financial balance has helped keep India in the forefront for medical and healthcare, globally. 

REASONS WHY INDIA IS THE MOST FAVOURED DESTINATION FOR MEDICAL TOURISM:

Facilities: India maintains a robust accreditation process. There are around 275 facilities in India that match global infrastructure parameters.

Futuristic technologies: Indian medical fraternity boasts of acclaimed specialists and they are comfortable and capable of challenging themselves. State-of-the-art technology-based treatment and collaborative tools has taken India / Indian medical care forefront, and today patients travel from all over the world for treatment.

Finest physicians & specialists: India has about 1.2 million allopathic doctors, 0.17 million dental surgeons and about 2 million nurses/patient care team. Evidently, quality health care is a serious business in India. To further support the medical practitioners, technology, innovative treatments and newer methods for patient care aid to India’s tag as one of the most favoured destination for healthcare.

Affordability: The Government of India has promoted health care and offered many plans and subsidies to the industry of healthcare and wellness. While an open-heart surgery may cost about $70,000/- in Britain, and a whopping $150,000 in USA, the best hospitals in India would cost an individual about $10,000 for the same surgery. Again, a knee surgery may cost a patient about INR 4 lakhs in India. However, in Britain, the same surgery will cost 3 times the cost in India.

“0” wait time: While a booking for bypass surgery or an angioplasty in another country may take 3-6 months, in India the same is scheduled sooner. This has been possible due to the availability of the finest physicians, and the latest equipment and technology available here.

Understanding and communication: India is a diverse country. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is the home to 880 languages of the world. And, India also has the highest percentage of English speaking people. The ability to comprehend and communicate effectively with tourists from across the globe has further endeared India to the world.

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Road Ahead

The healthcare market can increase three-fold to INR 8.6 trillion (US$133.44 billion) by 2022. Currently, India is experiencing 22-25% growth in medical tourism and the industry is expected to double by 2018. 

Government initiatives like LaQshya for Labour Room Quality Improvement and the partnering with BRICS countries for cooperation in the field of medical products will further strengthen India’s position of “The” Healthcare destination for medical tourists.

The country has become one of the leading destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities.

India's competitive advantage also lies in the increased success rate of Indian companies in getting Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) approvals. India also offers vast opportunities in R&D as well as medical tourism.

To sum up, there are vast opportunities for investment in healthcare infrastructure in both urban and rural India.

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References: Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), RNCOS Reports, Media Reports, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Union Budget 2017-18

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.