Medical Tourism in India

Medical Tourism in India

Introduction

From time immemorial, India is known for its outstanding medical care and Indian system of Medicine. Indian medicine, famously known as Ayurveda has roots dated back as far as 5000 years. Archaeological excavations in the sites of Indus Valley civilization shows evidences of dental surgeries like tooth extractions and cavity removals performed. Over the years, India has treated many foreign travellers from neighbouring counties and other parts of the world. In the wake of the 21st century,boom in Information Technology and Corporate practices in Health care institutions has put India on the spotlight among the medical travellers across the world, who are looking for quality, reliable and cost-effective medical treatment. The patronizing support from the Government of India to promote Medical Tourism as a part of public policy introduced various reforms and policiesto improve the healthcare quality systems to be at par with the world class standards. The city of Chennai located in South India has been termed as “India’s Health Capital”. Chennai, welcomes an estimated 150 international patients every day and accommodates almost 45% of international medical tourists travelling into India. In India, people can save as much as 50% of their medical expense when compared to the medical expenses in the western counties. Further in this article we discuss the various factors that has enabled India to become the most favoured destination in Medical Tourism.

Health Care System

Health care providers in India follow quality systems on a par with the western world. The Joint Commission International (JCI), which is considered to be leading authority on global health care practices has accredited 34 hospitals across India. The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) has accredited 664 hospitals.The NABH standard has been accepted by ISQUa, the International Society for Quality Assurance in Healthcare, as anInternational Accreditation on par with the world’s best. This robust accreditation system in India along with cutting edge technology have reduced the post-operative mortality rate to 1.4% as compared to 1.9% in western countries such as the US. This is a key selling factor in attracting international patients to choose India as their destination for medical tourism.

Infrastructure and Facilities

Hospitals and healthcare institutions provide a wide of range of procedural and treatment options, infrastructure and skilled manpower to perform any medical procedure with low mortality rate. India has the largest number of health care professionals in South Asia – 1.2 million Allopathic doctors, 0.17 million dental surgeons, 2 million nurses. It is widely known all over the world that over 10% of the doctors practising in the UK and US are Indian.

Complex medical procedures such as heart transplants, cancer treatment, neuro surgeries, etc., require high-end technology to produce better outcomes, minimize post operation mortality rates, enable faster recovery and reduce the waiting period to zero. Therefore, health care providers have invested in cutting edge technology to support almost all complex medical diagnostics and procedures. The patients can now undergo any medical procedure without having waiting for the availability of the doctor/medicine/instrument. This has attracted patients from countries across the world to travel to India to beat the huge waiting period for many routine procedures in their home country.

Cost of Health care

The cost wise benefits for the medical travellers visiting India is unimaginable. The traveller can save as much as 50% of the treatment cost that they might spend if they travelled to a developed western country to avail the same treatment. The difference in the expenses is huge: Cost of an Open-heart surgery performed in the UK is around USD 70k-75k and USD 120k-150k in the US; whereas in India it costsonly USD 10,000.

For certain medical conditions the treatment period is long and requires frequent visits to the hospital. The travellers with these types of medical conditions prefer to undergo treatment in India as the transportation cost, house rentals and cost of foods and other basic amenities are very low compared to the respective costs in the US and UK. Recently, the healthcare providers in India are offering a package deal that includes flights, hotels, treatment and, often, a post-treatment recovery therapy such as Yoga, Naturopathy and Ayurveda. These cost-effective practices have allured the medical tourists across the world towards India.

Effortless VISA Regime

The number of medical tourists coming to India has been on rise over the years and is expected to grow on larger scale in the coming years. The government of India in-order to ease the process of application of a conventional Medical Visa, introduced the e-Medical Visa which can be applied online. The e-Medical visa application process is very simple and less time consuming. The online application process takes only 20 mins and processing is done in 3-4 working days. The approved VISA is sent via email. The validity of e-medical visa granted is 60 days with triple entry, further extension of visa validity may be granted up to 6 months on case to case basis on merits of each case by the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office). Thus, simplifying the process of Medical visa regime in the country has ensured a hassle-free travel, stay and treatment for the medical tourists. This is also one of the important factors that has qualified India to become a most preferred destination in medical tourism.

Multi-Language Speaking Personnel

Another prime factor that has made India go like clockwork in inviting the medical tourists successfully is the availability of good language interpreters working at the hospitals. This makes it easier for the medical tourists to associate well with Indian health care professionals. Also, India is known for its huge number of English-speaking population in the country. This allows better understanding between patients and healthcare personnel. Thus, is a prime factor in opting India as a healthcare destination.

Conclusion

Medical tourism is a growing sector in India. It is projected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 200%,reachingUSD 9 billion by 2020. The rising medical expensesin the US and other European countries will naturally make India a comfortable and affordable choice for the medical tourists in the upcoming years.

The medical tourists who step into India from other countries do not do so for cheap healthcare but for quality healthcare at an affordable cost. Highly skilled health care personnel, world class hospital infrastructure and cost-effective treatment are the reasons for the speeding growth of medical tourism industry in India. JAI HIND!!

 

Dinesh Kumar
dinesh.kumar@ikan.com

Dinesh has a very good operational experience in the service industry. He specializes in assessing client requirements, identify social and cultural challenges of foreign nationals. He is a resident of Chennai for past 2 decades. His understanding of the city, people and their practices is exceptional. He speaks English, Hindi and Tamil. His interests are mainly in ancient mythology, cosmology and spirituality. He enjoys writing micro-blogs.

4 Comments
  • Divya Das
    Posted at 12:23h, 20 January Reply

    Really excellent. And exceptionally thrilled about your next article.

  • Vidhya Sagar Manoharan
    Posted at 15:34h, 20 January Reply

    As a doctor I say :
    You’ve analysed each and everything in detail. And the article clearly depicts the current scenario.
    Keep up your good work!!!!

  • Harveer Singh Chadha
    Posted at 21:20h, 20 January Reply

    Nicely collated Dinesh. Medical tourism is certainly a big opportunity and a blessing for some countries where Healthcare set ups are not efficient

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