WHAT IS MEDICAL TOURISM?
Medical tourism is a phenomenon of people travelling to other nations to obtain dental, medical and surgical care while at the meantime vacationing, touring and fully experiencing the attractions of the countries that they are travelling. Exorbitant charges of healthcare in industrialized nations, comfort and affordability of international travel, favourable currency exchange rates in the global economy, rapidly enhancing technology and standards of care in many nations of the world, and most importantly proven the safety of healthcare in select foreign countries have all led to the rise of medical tourism. More and more people are visiting abroad as an enjoyable, affordable, and safe alternative to having dental, medical and surgical procedures done in their home countries.
WHY IS INDIA ONE OF THE BEST DESTINATION FOR MEDICAL TOURISM?
India will soon turn into the global health destination. It is imitating the Thai model, which has been the first Asian destination for International Patients. India profits from a large staff of world-class experts and the ultra-competitive price advantage it grants.
With costs at a fraction (less than 10% for instance in the treatment of gallstone $600 US ) of those in the United States or EU, the idea has broad consumer appeal. Indian private facilities give advanced technology and high-quality treatment at par with hospitals in western nations.
India is promoting “medical outsourcing” where subcontractors try to render services to the overburdened medical care systems in western countries. Medical tourism to India is growing by 20% a year. Most non-urgent Western patients usually get a package deal that includes flights, transfers, hotels, treatment and often a post-operative vacation. There are many brokers specialized in the Indian market.
I would personally recommend that you get an independent break up on the costs and decide for yourself what you want and what you don’t want. For example, one patient may want an air-conditioned taxi which is far more expensive than a coach while travelling to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Similarly, the hospitals to have deluxe rooms and economy wards costing differently (a gall bladder surgery would cost $1200 and $600 respectively).
Why Is this so Cheap?
It is not cheap. It is approximately cheap because that is the style the international economy runs. Going by the “McDonald index”, in India you get a burger for 40 cents at McDonald’s. The income and wages of individuals are also proportionately lower. Thus, a gall bladder operation by laparoscopy may look only $600 to someone in the US; it is 4 months’ pay of a receptionist working at the hospital.
Due to the current favourable Rupee/Dollar/Pound/Euro exchange rate, foreign customers can take benefit of the weak Rupee and suppose savings of up to 75% over the same treatment in their own nations, with no compromise on quality.
For the average Indian, Private medical care is very costly, but for those visitors with Sterling, Euros or Dollars it is a bargain cost considering what you would pay back home for an elective procedure with a top specialist with no long waiting list.
Tourists come to India for economic purposes and market attractiveness
There are economic benefits for choosing English-speaking India for some procedures. For instance, a heart bypass procedure costs approximately $140,000 without any insurance in the US. The same procedure, however, costs almost $7,000 or Rs 3 lakh at one of India’s leading surgery centres. Procedures such as knee and hip replacement, facelift, and gastric bypass are far more affordable in India, involving the cost of travel and accommodation, compared to the US.
Moreover, these cosmetic methods are not covered by most insurance providers in Western countries. India has many top-notch centres for paediatric heart surgery and open-heart surgeries which are equipped with the latest equipment that is on par with these Western nations. India is also acutely aware of the quality thoughts of its visitors; many Indian hospitals that cater to foreign tourists meet the conditions of US health standards similar to Food and Drug Administration and Joint Commission Accreditation for sanitariums, hoping to fight this opinion.
India is also home to a number of alternative medicine techniques such as Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Yoga, Acupuncture and Homeopathy which are very famous among foreigners. Such treatment opportunities give India the edge over its competitors like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and UAE.
What Regarding the quality of Care and Support of the Doctors?
Americans and British are already familiar with highly skilled Indian doctors at their neighbourhood hospital down the street. What they may not know is that several specialists are heading back to India as the living and working circumstances here for doctors have changed in the last 15 years or so since the liberalization of the economy.
India, with its extensive labour pool and the extremely educated population, is an outstanding destination for world-class medical treatment. Having had a long association with the Great Britain, the English language is prevalent throughout the nation.
Two key hindrances to India, which both the private and public sector are working feverishly to change, are
1) foreigners are required to get a visa to enter the country;
2) many areas outside of the major cities may be unsettling to American visitors who are not accustomed to seeing large-scale poverty. This being said, both the hotels and hospitals are safe, clean, modern and have world-class facilities.
During the earlier few years, many of the top private hospitals in India have built brand new, ultra-modern facilities and invested in the latest medical technology in order to lure international patients from around the world. The huge majority of these hospitals are in the process of applying for JCAHO Accreditation as well.