Medical tourism is the term given to the phenomena of people traveling to another country seeking medical treatment. Therefore, medical tourism in India essentially refers to patients from other countries coming to India for their medical treatments. India is among the top three destinations for medical tourism in Asia – along with Thailand and Singapore, it accounted for around 60% of Asian revenue through healthcare in 2012.
The medical tourism sector in India is expected to grow at a rate of 20% between 2014 and 2018. It is formally a promising sector for India, poised to reach USD 6 billion by the year 2018.
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The Boom of Medical Tourism in India
It is a well-known fact that medical tourism in India is growing at an increasing pace. Therefore, the question that arises in everyone’s mind is what are the factors that are fueling growth in the sector of medical tourism in India. The answer to this is fairly straightforward, there are various factors leading to the increased influx of patients from other countries seeking treatment in India.
Factors Contributing Towards Increasing Medical Tourism in India
Current trends in the medical sector communicate that medical tourism is on a high growth path in the Indian subcontinent.Therefore, given below are some of the factors leading to increased share of India’s next crown jewel i.e. medical tourism:
1. Quality healthcare at reasonable costs
With state-of the-art hospitals and healthcare technologies available in India at par with those found in developed nations, patients can expect quality healthcare and assistance for their condition.
2. Savings for the patient
Some of the developed countries like the U.S. require extremely high costs for major procedures like cardiac surgeries, orthopedic treatments, etc. Coming to India and obtaining the same treatment reduces the patient’s costs by as much as 50%, without compromising on the quality of treatment. With comparatively lower hospital costs, patients visiting India are also able to afford better quality services like extended hospital stay during recovery and rehabilitation, which would otherwise be extremely expensive in their home country.
3. Bypassing waiting lists
A huge reason why patients from other countries choose medical tourism in India is the immediate attention to the health concern, where the same may require a long wait in the home country. This is especially true for patients with chronic conditions who have to wait it out with medicines in their country before they get a chance to be operated upon.
4. World-class doctors
Most top hospitals in India have physicians and surgeons on their board who have spent a considerable time of their study and/or practice abroad and are in sync with the latest technologies and procedures to be able to provide the same in India. Therefore, patients are attracted towards medical tourism in India with the widely skilled and acclaimed doctor present in the sub-continent.
5. Customised approach
Hospitals offering medical tourism in India facilities to tourists in India today have a well-thought out plan for visiting patients, which includes comprehensive services that range from obtaining a medical visa, preparing documents, arranging appointments and stay, to facilitating transportation for medical care and even sightseeing.
Key Highlights of Medical Tourism in India
- An estimated value of the medical tourism in India sector is $ 4 billion with the health care tourism encountering solid growth for more than a decade. (Ref: Wikipedia)
- India hosts about 1.27 million tourists from countries such as the UK, along with tourists from neighboring countries like Bangladesh.
- Top destinations for foreign visitors in India are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi respectively. These three states alone bring in a lion share of tourists to India seeking medical treatments.
Medical tourism in India is becoming more popular as patients are seeking better and cheaper options for treatment in India. And, India has started to make its presence felt firmly in the medical tourism sector that was initially dominated by developed countries like the US and Singapore to name a few. Medical tourism in India is dominated by some of the most popular medical treatments in the area of Cardiology, Neurology, and Orthopedics. As the major cities in India are well connected by air and other modes of transportation, with all of the leading global airlines operating, Indian medical tourism is booming. The government of India has also recently relaxed visa norms and has implemented a newpolicy which also proactively works towards increasing medical tourism in India.
And, therefore, with the growing pharmaceutical industry, cheap and ease in traveling, the growth of insurance market and improvement in health care, all work towards making India a preferred medical tourism destination.
“Medical tourism in India sector to reach $6 billion by 2018: report,” Livemint.com, Moulishree Srivastava, July 24, 2014
“International patients – Why India,” Medanta.org
“Top 3 medical tourism destinations in Asia,” TimesofIndia.Indiatimes.com, September 1. 2014