Medical tourism is a term involving people who travel to a different place to receive treatment for a disease, ailment, or condition, and who are seeking lower cost of care, higher quality of care, better access to care, or different care than they could receive at home country.
Over the years, India has grown to become a top-notch destination for medical value travel because it scores high over a range of factors that determines the overall quality of care. Imagine a complex surgical procedure being done in a world class global hospital by acclaimed medical specialists at a fifth to tenth of what it normally takes, or receive the latest solutions of cancer care what is not available in your country! That’s India. From quality of treatments, every range of procedural and treatment options, world- class infrastructure and highly skilled, internationally trained manpower to perform any medical procedure with zero waiting time, the list of benefits of travelling for medical treatment in India are many. India will offer you all benefits for successful healthcare solution.
The high- end healthcare system in India is certified as good as the best in the world. India maintains not only a robust accreditation system but also a large number of nationally accredited facilities that match any global infrastructure. India also has a rapidly growing number of USA- based JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited hospitals to certify the overall quality comparable to highest performing units in the world. JCI accreditation is considered to be the finest tribute for healthcare service provider and assures the highest level of standards to be set, followed and maintained without compromise. These set of approved hospitals in India can provide care at par or above high global standards.
The Joint Commission International is a part of a global enterprise of dynamic and nonprofit organizations that address all dimensions of accreditation, quality care and patient safety. JCI is the oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. It evaluates more than 20,000 organizations and inspires them to excel in providing safe and effective care.
National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers is a constituent board of Quality Council of India, set up to establish and operate accreditation programme for healthcare organizations. National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare providers have designed an exhaustive healthcare standard for hospitals and healthcare providers. This standard consists of stringent 600 plus objective elements for the hospital to achieve in order to get the NABH accreditation.
NABL undertakes the assessment and accreditation of Testing and Calibration Laboratories, in accordance with the international standard ISO / IEC 17025 and ISO 15189. The Board is a signatory of Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (APLAC). By this process, laboratory accreditation aims to assure all customers that laboratory’s tests and calibration data are accurate and reliable. NABL is one of the world’s leading accreditation body and consumer can have full confidence in NABL accredited laboratory services.
Frontier Cutting edge technology to support medical diagnostics and medical procedures are employed by internationally acclaimed specialists in State- of- the- Art medical facilities. All recognized hospitals have invested a lot in latest supportive technology and the most advanced operative techniques. Complicated heart surgeries, highly developed cancer care and non- and minimally invasive surgeries, complicated neuro and even general surgeries require high-end technology to continually better outcomes, minimize complications, enable faster recovery and reduce length of hospital stay. The recent advancements in robotic surgeries, radiation surgery and radiotherapies with Cyberknife stereotactic options, IMRT / IGRT, the most developed transplant support systems, advanced neuro and spinal treatment options are all available in India. India’s medical management and acclaimed specialists are comfortable in challenging themselves to new frontiers to provide solutions for any patient need and always building on their expertise by attending internationally to part in the forefront in medical achievements.
India has not only hospitals with world-class facilities but highly skilled world-class doctors and medical personnel too. Many of them have established their credentials as leaders around the world. India’s medical history also spans thousands of years through Ayurveda and alternate medicine forms. With a large number of doctors, there is a high level of competency and capability in adoption of newer technologies and innovation and fresh treatment methods. It is a wonderful example of higher quantity leading to higher quality and vice versa. Communicate, talk to your service provider and doctors in the accredited facilities prior to your visit and they will study your needs and we will customize the treatment individually for you!
Quality of care is what attracts people. However, quality services should not be beyond the affordability of the patient who requires it. If quality comes at an affordable cost, it is an unbeatable advantage. This confluence of highest quality and cost advantage is unique for India. The benefit is unimaginable when it comes to major treatments such as for leukemia or highly complex cancer management, where the difference in cost is 10 to 20 times. For other treatments, it could be anything from a fifth to a tenth when compared to Western countries and 80 to 90 per cent of what is charged in other South Asian medical destinations. The estimated 600,000 people who step into India from other countries do not do so for cheap healthcare but for quality healthcare at an affordable cost. They are not compromised at any level, but regain health at a fraction of the cost without wasting any valuable time and assures themselves beneficial treatment option for better quality of life.
Quick and immediate attention for surgeries and all interventions are assured in India. Getting an appointment for bypass surgery or a planned angioplasty in certain countries takes almost 3-6 months, diagnostic and waiting periods in cancer management can be fatally long and the latest achievements in cancer imaging or robotic radiosurgery is not even available. In various countries one as to wait for joint replacement for years with highly addictive pain medication as joint replacement is available only as the last option. And even if some treatments options might be available in private sector, the cost of treatment makes private option beyond the reach from common person. It’s zero waiting time in India for any procedure, be it heart surgery, liver and kidney care, cancer treatment, neuro-spinal procedure, knee/hip/joint replacements, dental, cosmetic surgeries, weight loss surgery etc.
For greater understanding between patients and healthcare personnel, the warmth and hospitality of Indian hospitals is a big factor in choosing India as a healthcare destination. Among the top medical destinations of the world, India has the highest percentage of English language speaking people. Amidst the variety of culture and traditions, if there is one thing that is common in India, that is the English language. If other language options are essential, there are expert interpreters who will be arranged by the hospitals. All this is leading and reassuring hospitality and great after care, not just for the finest treatment experience in India, but also to assist after care and good quality of life after returning home.
Medical value travel is the term that has been chosen to refer to the practice or trend of patients seeking healthcare beyond borders. The operative word here being ‘value’ since a patient seeks value when they choose to undertake travel for healthcare. The term value is also of importance in this context since the practice of medical tourism adds and generates value for the country under consideration. The medical tourism industry has witnessed a steady growth in the recent years globally. As the world population becomes more aware of healthcare options and as quality healthcare rises as a priority in the minds of the majority ages, patients are bound to pursue cross border healthcare. The primary reasons for medical tourism therefore are high quality healthcare, specialized treatment options, immediate service opportunity for travel coupled with affordability. Reasons for medical travel differ for countries. In regions where quality healthcare is unavailable, accessing healthcare may lead to medical travel, for others, cost effectiveness may be a reason. India has emerged as one of the most sought after destination for medical tourists across the globe owing to its high value proposition in terms of quality healthcare, pool of specialists and availability of alternate treatment options such as Ayurveda and homeopathic medicine.
Traditionally the healthcare infrastructure in India struggled to cater to the domestic needs because of the deficit in infrastructure and technical manpower. However, with the advent of private hospitals and the evolution of the industry as a whole, even public sector facilities like AIIMS and JIPMER are equipped with world class infrastructure and capabilities to carry out the most complex surgeries. The role of the Government in this trajectory has been monumental. Government initiatives have propelled the sector and today India can boast of the capabilities in the field of robotic surgeries and other advanced medical procedures. The growth of medical tourism in India has not only generated value for the economy but also led to the advancement of medical science, development of medical infrastructure and retention of skilled manpower. This report aims to highlight medical tourism as a viable value proposition in India. It provides a comparative analysis of the industry in India vis-à-vis countries like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia etc. It further enunciates the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders in the government, industry, policy makers. The report also attempts to highlight the holistic nature of the segment and the role of multiple sectors in the proposition.
As healthcare struggles with the dimensions of cost, quality, and access; across the globe, developed health systems are increasingly looking to the state exchequer to save costs while managing social expectations. India looks foreward to building its own distinct proposition that can not only benefit its own populace, but also add value to its economy. Healthcare in India, has evolved considerably over the last decade. Not only is it the fifth-largest employer among all sectors today, but it has also witnessed over a billion in private venture, and inflow of equity capital across numerous deals in the last year. Medical tourism as a segment has emerged owing to India’s increasing strength in healthcare delivery. The medical tourism market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 27 per cent to reach USD3.9 billion in 2014, from USD1.9 billion in 2011. With the emergence of newer needs and with India establishing a firmer footprint as a healthcare delivery destination, medical tourism is likely to gain impetus. One can argue on whether the country should prioritize medical tourism as a priority given the fact that India continues to score low on metrics of penetration, doctor and nurse density, number of hospital beds, and disease burden. However, it is imperative to see the proposition holistically before inferring that medical tourism in any way takes away from the country’s domestic progress in terms of healthcare. Any proposition that adds value, funds, and builds India’s credibility and visibility globally can only lead to economic traction, a scenario that will eventually benefit the domestic industry and help propel its growth. Another important consideration in this regard is the involvement of numerous other sectors that can help build medical travel as a proposition. Be it the hospitality sector, tourism, transport and logistics, aviation, and of course healthcare delivery. Medical tourism leverages value from these sectors, and thus help drive growth that is not just restricted to one sector in isolation. The purpose of this report, therefore is to capture a holistic view of medical value travel as an important value proposition. We aim to assess the opportunity, India’s capability in leveraging the opportunity, and finally identify the hurdles that stand in India’s path as it looks to build a strong medical value travel segment. The report also provides recommendations that may play an important role in bridging these gaps; these recommendations are the result of thorough analyses and stakeholder feedback, and can go a long way in shaping the path of medical value travel in India.