Medical tourism in India

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Medical tourism is a growing sector in India. India's medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30%, making it a $2 billion industry by 2015.[1][2] As medical treatment costs in the developed world balloon - with the United States leading the way - more and more Westerners are finding the prospect of international travel for medical care increasingly appealing. An estimated 150,000 of these travel to India for low-priced healthcare procedures every year.[3]

Attractions[edit]

Advantages for medical treatment in India include reduced costs, the availability of latest medical technologies,[4] and a growing compliance on international quality standards, as well as the fact that foreigners are less likely to face a language barrier in India. The Indian government is taking steps to address infrastructure issues that hinder the country's growth in medical tourism. The government has removed visa restrictions on tourist visas that required a two-month gap between consecutive visits for people from Gulf countries which is likely to boost medical tourism.[5] A visa-on-arrival scheme for tourists from select countries has been instituted which allows foreign nationals to stay in India for 30 days for medical reasons.[6] In Noida, which is fast emerging as a hotspot for medical tourism, a number of hospitals have hired language translators to make patients from Balkan and African countries feel more comfortable while at the same time helping in the facilitation of their treatment.[7]

Confederation of Indian Industry reported that 150,000 medical tourists came to India in 2005, based on feedback from the organization's member hospitals. The number grew to 200,000 by 2008. A separate study by ASSOCHAM reported that the year 2011 saw 850,000 medical tourists in India and projected that by 2015 this number would rise to 3,200,000.[8]

Most estimates claim treatment costs in India start at around a tenth of the price of comparable treatment in America or Britain.[9][10] The most popular treatments sought in India by medical tourists are alternative medicine, bone-marrow transplant, cardiac bypass, eye surgery and hip replacement. India is known in particular for heart surgery, hip resurfacing and other areas of advanced medicine.

Lower treatment cost does not necessarily mean lower healthcare standards. There are 21 JCI accredited hospitals in India and growing.[11] However, for a patient traveling to India, it is important to find the optimal Doctor-Hospital combination. After the patient has been treated, the patient has the option of either recuperating in the hospital or at a paid accommodation nearby. Many hospitals also give the option of continuing the treatment through telemedicine.

The city of Chennai has been termed India's health capital.[2][12][13][14] Multi- and super-specialty hospitals across the city bring in an estimated 150 international patients every day.[2] Chennai attracts about 45 percent of health tourists from abroad arriving in the country and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists.[12] Factors behind the tourists inflow in the city include low costs, little to no waiting period,[15] and facilities offered at the specialty hospitals in the city.[2] The city has an estimated 12,500 hospital beds, of which only half is used by the city's population with the rest being shared by patients from other states of the country and foreigners.[16] Dental clinics have attracted dental care tourism to Chennai[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Indian Medical Tourism To Touch Rs 9,500 Crore By 2015, The Economic Times, posted on IndianHealthCare.in
  2. ^ a b c d Hamid, Zubeda (20 August 2012). "The medical capital's place in history". The Hindu (Chennai: The Hindu). Retrieved 15 Sep 2012. 
  3. ^ "Swamis to Surgeries", medicaltourismmag.com, January 19, 2011
  4. ^ "Reason to smile". The Hindu. 2011-10-24. 
  5. ^ "Easing of visa norms to boost medical tourism". The Times of India. 2012-12-05. 
  6. ^ "Visa-on-arrival". Bureau of Immigration. 2012-12-05. 
  7. ^ "Medical translators to aid foreign patients". The Times of India. 2013-01-24. 
  8. ^ "Press Release". Assocham. 2011-08-05. 
  9. ^ "Indian medical care goes global", Aljazeera.Net, June 18, 2006 Nov 11, 2006
  10. ^ Laurie Goering, "For big surgery, Delhi is dealing," The Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2008
  11. ^ http://www.jointcommissioninternational.org/jci-accredited-organizations/
  12. ^ a b National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers. "Chennai – India's Health Capital". India Health Visit. Retrieved 1 Sep 2012. 
  13. ^ "Chennai High: City gets most foreign tourists". The Times of India (Chennai: The Times Group). 27 August 2010. Retrieved 11 Sep 2012. 
  14. ^ "சென்னை இந்தியாவின் மருத்துவ தலைநகரா?". BBC Tamil. BBC. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 15 Sep 2012. 
  15. ^ Porecha, Maitri (8 August 2012). "Long wait makes patients head south". Daily News & Analysis (Mumbai: DNAIndia.com). Retrieved 15 Sep 2012. 
  16. ^ "Country's med capital to get 3,000 more beds". The Times of India (Chennai: The Times Group). 16 July 2011. Retrieved 16 Sep 2012. 
  17. ^ Rajan, Manoj (4 October 2011). "Foreigners flock to city for dental care". The Times of India (Chennai: The Times of India). Retrieved 2 Jan 2013.