The medical tourism market is booming. Estimates place its value at more then $4 billion dollars. In India, medical tourism is responsible for 6.1% of GDP and accounts for ten percent of the country’s employment, both staggering numbers. So the question is, why has India become such a hotspot for medical tourism? In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore a few reasons that are contributing to this phenomenon.
India’s healthcare system is plagued by problems such as patients being responsible for a high percentage of their bills (up to 60%), lack of availability of certain surgeries, limited supply of hospital beds and other serious issues. Medical tourism, however, just might be the answer. The $1 billion business is generating revenue that’s allowing for the opening of new, updated facilities and opening up thousands of new beds to patients. Read on to find out how India is attracting medical tourists from around the world to its facilities.
Patients from the UK, the US and other countries have been traveling to India in large numbers to enjoy significantly lower costs for major surgery. Even when factoring in travel costs, some medical tourists are saving up to 90% over comparable services in their home country. That’s a significant amount of savings when you’re talking tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for some major surgeries. It’s no wonder the medical tourism industry is booming in India.
Many people have a tendency to associate significantly lower prices with significantly lower quality. That’s not the case when it comes to the healthcare services offered by facilities in India. According to a report from the Medical Travel Quality Alliance, India is home to two of the top 10 hospitals for tourists worldwide. Fortis Hospital in Bangalore and The Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai made the list at numbers four and ten respectively.
Tens of thousands of Indian doctors are working at hospitals and running successful practices across the globe. They’re receiving high quality training, using the most innovative technology and working at state-of-the-art facilities in countries in North America, Europe and elsewhere. With healthcare improving in India thanks to medical tourism, many of them are returning home to practice in India.
2013 stats showed that hospitals in Bangalore alone received up to 10 applications monthly from doctors in the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore. Stats like these are seen in facilities all across India. Their reputation for high level care, coupled with significantly lower costs is contributing significantly to the country’s rise in medical tourism.
Some hospitals in India take the concept of medical tourism to another level. They now offer packages that include aspects of leisure. Patients recover at luxury resorts after undergoing surgery.
Medical tourism is marketed as a product. Patients are able to select not only the type of treatment and the facility at which it will take place, but also add in airfare, hotels and even a little rest and relaxation before returning home.
Whatever the attraction may be that convinces individuals to pursue their healthcare needs in India rather than at home, it’s clear that the trend is here to stay. With an annual growth rate of 30%, medical tourism in India is on the rise. There are now 25 JCI accredited organizations in India, and that number looks to increase as the country continues to invest in infrastructure and new technology and works to attract the top talent. Keep an eye on medical tourism in India as it continues to progress.
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