Medical tourism is also referred to as global healthcare, health tourism, and medical travel. It is used to describe the rising popular trend of people travelling by crossing international borders for seeking healthcare services. Usual services sought by such tourists include both complex surgeries and elective procedures.
India is a top destination for medical tourism, from across the world. Because of rising costs of health-care in many advanced countries and the availability of top class doctors and hospitals are very less costly in India, is attracting more and more amount of medical tourism India.
Why Medical Tourism?
There are several reasons for rising number of people seeking medical care overseas. Some of these are:
- There has been rise in costs of healthcare in native countries.
- Certain types of medical care are absent in native countries
- Currently, international travel is priced reasonably and is free of risk and trouble
- Technological progress in medicine and global standards of medical care are rising worldwide.
- Improvement in modes of communication makes it easier to find and contact hospitals. English is the common lingua franca of the world which eases communication barriers.
- Health insurance is an issue. Health insurance of individuals may not cover complete procedure of treatment. People lacking insurance or with limited insurance are attracted by the low costs of medical tourism. When the price of medical care rises, coverage of insurance policies reduces. Price of treatment in domestic countries may be much higher than seeking treatment abroad. Persons who cannot afford health insurance prefer to travel abroad for treatment.
- Combining top-class medical treatment with the pursuit of leisure in beautiful countries is attractive for many.
Benefits of Medical Tourism in India
India has become a global hub for medical tourism, thanks to following reasons;
- Cost-effectiveness and affordability
The number one reason for tourists to seek treatment in India is the substantial reduction in costs of treatment here. For instance savings in costs of medical treatment may be 30% to 80% of costs of treatment in the USA. A bypass surgery that costs $130,000 in the US costs only $10,000 in Indian hospitals. Spinal fusion costs $62,000 in the US while in India, it costs only $5500.
Some people may worry that such low cost of treatment may indicate a compromise in quality standards and that medical tourism is a scam. But the fact is that the main reason for low costs of healthcare in India is due to the cheapness of labour costs in the country.
Though medical treatment is cheap, mostly medical and surgical procedures are performed by world-class doctors in hospitals with the top of the line healthcare equipment.
- High-quality of healthcare
Most of the doctors and surgeons who treat patients in India have received their training from top-notch medical institutes in developed countries like the UK and the USA. This speaks for the high quality of care in healthcare tourism in India.
Indian medical centres have garnered certification from world class bodies like ISO, JCAHO, and JCI. NABH is another body awarding certification to Indian hospitals.
- Availability of world-class equipment
Many Indian hospitals are equipped with the best of world-class healthcare equipment. This is because of the rising number of corporate hospitals entering the arena of medical tourism.
- No language barrier
English is spoken widely in India both by doctors and nurses. Corporate hospitals also hire native translators for patients speaking other foreign languages, which makes treatment easy and convenient.
- Immediate service
One important aspect is the instant access to treatment in Indian hospitals. In place of waiting for long waiting lines in domestic, advanced countries, foreign patients get immediate treatment on a priority basis. With regard to certain health conditions, waiting for a long time is not an option.
- Improved travel and leisure services
Most treatment schedules can be booked by phone or laptop. Medical tourists have the option of booking flights and scheduling surgeries from the comfort of their homes, thanks to the internet. This removes the need for costly arrangements for check-ups and evaluations.
Though medical tourism is about health care, one another consideration is to recuperate in beautiful locations. Some medical tourist like those seeking cosmetic care, wellness treatments or dental care can enjoy cheap opportunities of exploring India. The total package for health care and tourism will still be a fraction of the price of care in the home country.
Some of the areas of medical treatment are growing popular in India for medical tourists. These include:
- Spine surgery
- Eye surgery
- All kinds of joints and bones treatment
- Treatment of blood vessels
- Cosmetic surgery
- Stomach treatments
- Treatments and surgeries related to the heart
- Dental treatments
- Laser removal of hair
- Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) treatments
- Hair implants
- Infertility treatment
- Beauty and spa treatments
Another major area of medical tourism in India is alternative medicine. This includes treatments like:
- Yoga and meditation
- Music therapy
- Pranic healing
Wellness Tourism in India
Here are some aspects of wellness tourism in India:
- The potential of systems of wellness developed by centuries of the wisdom of the ancient Indian civilization needs to be tapped fully. This is being carried out by positioning India as a center for naturopathy, Sidha, Yoga, Ayurveda, etc. along with the spiritual philosophy of ancient India.
- Ministry of Tourism has prepared guidelines for wellness tourism. Such guidelines deal with issues such as facilitating publicity material of high quality, training for providers of services, participation in domestic and international events related to wellness, etc.
- Quality is a consideration due to mushrooming of wellness centres across India. Guidelines have been developed for accreditation of wellness centres by the NABH (National Board for Accreditation of Hospitals) which has tied up with AYUSH.
- Ministry of Tourism has pushed ahead scheme of MDA(MarketDevelopment Assistance) to providers of wellness centres.
India has become a highly popular destination for all kinds of medical treatment. This concept is well-liked by all, who are seeking high-quality and affordable healthcare.