Medical Tourism in India
Medical tourism, as the name
suggests involves traveling across the border for urgent or elective medical surgeries
and other specialized treatments. This is a modern 'cost effective' term coined
by healthcare and tourism industries across the globe, although the phenomenon
is not new as such.
Traveling across the border for
medical assistance has happened for centuries. Pilgrims and patients across the
Mediterranean traveled to ancient Greece to stay in the shrine of the
healing god, Asklepios. Similarly, Europeans traveled from Germany to spas around the Nile
in the 18th century. Today the low-cost jet rates combined with
affordable health care in developing countries like India has enabled people to go
beyond borders for elective procedures and complex surgeries.
Medical tourism in India
More than 50 countries including India, Costa Rica,
Cuba, Hungary, Israel,
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
are actively promoting medical tourism. However, India stands as the preferred choice
in terms of accreditations, government policies, cost, climate, culture and tourist
Like many countries, India
also promotes medical tourism through government's official policy. According
to the formulation drawn from the 'Policy Framework for Reforms in Health Care',
drafted by the Prime Minister's advisory council on Trade and Industry, the
National Health Policy 2002 of India states that the treatment of foreign
patients/expatriates is legally an 'export'
and the same is 'eligible for all fiscal
incentives extended to export earnings.'
Medical tourism in India is a billion
dollar industry. A CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) study indicates
that 150,000 medical tourist visited India in 2005. According to FICCI (Federation
of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) the health-care market covering
health insurance, is expected to expand up to $ 69 billion by 2012. The
research also states that the Indian health-care industry boosted by medical
tourism is growing at 30 per cent annually.
Factors promoting Medical Tourism in India
Although cost plays a major role,
the reasons for medical tourism vary from patient to patient. For instance,
people from US seek medical treatment that would cost one tenth of this treatment
cost at home. People from other parts of the world like Canada and Great Britain are often frustrated
by long waiting times at public health services.
Few like to combine their surgeries
with a beautiful vacation in India
that offers them scenic beaches, high mountains, religious temples, historical
monuments and vast deserts. On the other hand, medical tourism in India is also a boon for poor nations like Bangladesh,
where treatment options are limited.
Cost plays a major role in promoting medical
tourism in India.
Using competent technologies, hospitals in India are able to perform high-end
treatments like liver transplantation and heart surgery at a substantially
lower rate. The following figure indicates the cost of certain treatments in US
Procedure Cost (US$)
Bone Marrow Transplant
Indian government has adopted an accreditation
system (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals, NABH) that ensures a
guarantee of service for medical tourists. The accreditation process also
recommends prices for services.
In order to attain NABH's certification for
medical tourism, the member hospitals must agree to dual pricing system
enabling limited charges for foreigners and lower prices for domestic patients.
So far, the body has approved 30 of its 120 hospital members.
International Society for Quality in Health Care
(ISQUA) approves India's
accreditation process. ISQUA is an international body that grants approval to
accreditation bodies in the area of healthcare.
There are also international accreditations like JCI
and TRENT that assure quality healthcare for medical tourists. Joint Commission
International (JCI), is an US based accreditation group that evaluates
hospitals outside United
States since 1992. Trent International Accreditation Scheme is a
trusted source for British and European medical tourists.
The India's State and National Consumer
Disputes Redressal Commission generally handle any legal disputes arising from
treatments for medical tourists or Indian nationals. Currently CII is making
efforts to draw standards that would address any litigation arising from such
treatment to be dealt within Indian Courts.
Medical Tourism Process
Contact the medical tourism provider in India if you
are seeking medical treatment here. As an initial step, the medical tourism
provider will ask for your medical report covering the nature of your ailment,
local doctor's opinion, medical history and diagnosis. Upon receipt of your
medical report, the provider helps you get in touch with a certified medical
doctor or consultant in India.
He/She will advise you on the treatment/surgery required.
Later you can discuss with the medical tourism
provider on expenditure, choice of hospitals and tourist destinations,
accommodation and duration of the stay. Ensure to sign consent bonds upon
agreement. Remember to collect the recommendation letters from the consultant
or medical doctors that are required for the application of medical visa.
Once you arrive as a medical tourist to India, the
concerned provider will assign an executive, who takes care of your treatment
Medical Tourism Packages
Today, most Indian private sector hospitals are
very well equipped to handle a big mass of medical tourists. Backed by the
strong pharmaceutical industry these private hospitals are estimated to handle
a volume of 75-80% medical tourism services year on year. India is a leading drug
manufacturer that exports drugs to more than 180 countries.
There are a number of medical tourism providers
that offer medical packages coupled with a vacation to experience the rich and
glorious culture of India. Listed below are few medical packages offered
by the medical tourism providers in India.
- Bone Marrow Transplant
- Brain Surgery
- Cancer Procedures (Oncology)
- Cardiac Care
- Cosmetic Surgery
- Dialysis and Kidney
- Drug Rehabilitation
- Gynaecology & Obstetrics
- Health Checkups
- Internal/Digestive Procedures
- Joint Replacement Surgery
- Nuclear Medicine
- Neurosurgery & Trauma
- Preventive Health Care
- Refractive Surgery
- Spine Related
- Vascular Surgery
- Dental Care
has many hospitals offering excellent and effective treatments nearly in all
major medical sectors like cardiology, orthopaedics, gastroenterology,
ophthalmology, urology, neurology, oncology, endocrinology, paediatric surgery,
nephrology, dermatology, dentistry, plastic surgery, gynaecology, pulmonology,
psychiatry, general medicine & general surgery.