Medical tourism in India

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Medical tourism is a growing sector in India. In October 2015, India's medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth US$3 billion. It is projected to grow to $7-8 billion by 2020.[1] According to the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the primary reason that attracts medical value travel to India is cost-effectiveness, and treatment from accredited facilities at par with developed countries at much lower cost. The Medical Tourism Market Report: 2015 found that India was "one of the lowest cost and highest quality of all medical tourism destinations, it offers wide variety of procedures at about one-tenth the cost of similar procedures in the United States."[2]

Foreign patients travelling to India to seek medical treatment in 2012, 2013 and 2014 numbered 171,021, 236,898, and 184,298 respectively.[3] Traditionally, the United States and the United Kingdom have been the largest source countries for medical tourism to India. However, according to a CII-Grant Thornton report released in October 2015, Bangladeshis and Afghans accounted for 34% of foreign patients, the maximum share, primarily due to their close proximity with India and poor healthcare infrastructure. Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) accounted for 30% share of foreign medical tourist arrivals. Other major sources of patients include Africa and the Middle East, particularly the Persian Gulf countries.[4] In 2015, India became the top destination for Russians seeking medical treatment.[5] Chennai, Kolkatta, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh and the National Capital Region received the highest number of foreign patients primarily from South Eastern countries.

Attractions[edit]

Advantages of medical treatment in India include reduced costs, the availability of latest medical technologies,[6] 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. According to the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the primary reason that attracts medical value travel to India is cost-effectiveness, and treatment from accredited facilities at par with developed countries at much lower cost. The Medical Tourism Market Report: 2015 found that India was "one of the lowest cost and highest quality of all medical tourism destinations, it offers wide variety of procedures at about one-tenth the cost of similar procedures in the United States."[2]

Cost[edit]

Most estimates found that treatment costs in India start at around one-tenth of the price of comparable treatment in the United States or the United Kingdom.[7][8] 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.

Quality of care[edit]

India has 23 JCI accredited hospitals.[9] 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".[10][11][12][13] Multi- and super-specialty hospitals across the city bring in an estimated 150 international patients every day.[10] Chennai attracts about 45 percent of health tourists from abroad arriving in the country and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists.[11] Factors behind the tourists inflow in the city include low costs, little to no waiting period,[14] and facilities offered at the specialty hospitals in the city.[10] 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.[15] Dental clinics have attracted dental care tourism to Chennai[16]

Ease of travel[edit]

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.[17] 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.[18]

Language[edit]

Despite India's diversity of languages, English is an official language and is widely spoken. 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.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Indian medical tourism industry to touch $8 billion by 2020: Grant Thornton - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  2. ^ a b "Medical Tourism Market Report: 2015 Worldwide Market Size, Share, Trend, Analysis, Growth and Research Report |". Medgadget. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  3. ^ "Promotion of Medical Tourism". Press Information Bureau. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Indian medical tourism industry to touch $8 billion by 2020: Grant Thornton - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  5. ^ "India emerges as new destination for Russian medical tourists". in.rbth.com. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  6. ^ "Reason to smile". The Hindu. 2011-10-24. 
  7. ^ "Indian medical care goes global", Aljazeera.Net, June 18, 2006 Nov 11, 2006
  8. ^ Laurie Goering, "For big surgery, Delhi is dealing," The Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2008
  9. ^ http://www.jointcommissioninternational.org/jci-accredited-organizations/
  10. ^ a b c Hamid, Zubeda (20 August 2012). "The medical capital's place in history". The Hindu (Chennai: The Hindu). Retrieved 15 Sep 2012. 
  11. ^ a b National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers. "Chennai – India's Health Capital". India Health Visit. Retrieved 1 Sep 2012. 
  12. ^ "Chennai High: City gets most foreign tourists". The Times of India (Chennai: The Times Group). 27 August 2010. Retrieved 11 Sep 2012. 
  13. ^ "சென்னை இந்தியாவின் மருத்துவ தலைநகரா?". BBC Tamil. BBC. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 15 Sep 2012. 
  14. ^ Porecha, Maitri (8 August 2012). "Long wait makes patients head south". Daily News & Analysis (Mumbai: DNAIndia.com). Retrieved 15 Sep 2012. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ "Easing of visa norms to boost medical tourism". The Times of India. 2012-12-05. 
  18. ^ "Visa-on-arrival". Bureau of Immigration. 2012-12-05. 
  19. ^ "Medical translators to aid foreign patients". The Times of India. 2013-01-24.