Medical tourism can be broadly defined as the provision of ‘cost effective’ private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry for patients needing surgical and other forms of specialized treatment. The world-class medical facility is being facilitated by the corporate sector involved in medical care as well as the tourism industry – both private and public. India as the Medical tourism hub refers to traveling to other countries to obtain medical and surgical treatment. In the meantime, they could also tour, and fully experience the attractions of the countries they visit. Medical tourism is relevant and a reality today because of the exorbitant costs of healthcare in industrialized nations, ease and affordability of international travel, favorable currency exchange rates in the global economy, rapidly improving technology and standards of care with modern medical treatments in many countries of the world, and most importantly proven safety of healthcare in select foreign nations.
• Medical Tourism – “The industry catering to patients seeking care outside of their home region.” Includes health care, but also collateral consumer activities (travel, accommodations, recreation).
• Medical Travel – “Patients traveling outside of their home region in pursuit of care that is more accessible, of higher quality, and/or lower cost.” The focus is primarily on health care.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO MEDICAL TOURISM IN INDIA?
- Low Treatment cost: Foremost is the cost factor. The medical costs in India are one-tenth of the costs in western countries. For instance, heart surgery costs $6,000 in India as against $30,000 in the US. Similarly, a bone marrow transplant costs $26,000 in India as compared to $ 2,50,000 in the US.
- Immediate attention, no queue: Foreign patients throng Indian hospitals to pass up the long waiting lists and queues in their native countries. Indian hospitals provide immediate attention to patients rather than asking them to wait for several months like in most western countries. Further, foreign patients need not tackle insurance and national medical systems in India as they have to in their native lands.
- Wide range of Healthcare services: India offers the best treatments in modern medicine and in every medical division such as cardiology, orthopedic surgery, eye care, gynecology, cosmetic surgery and dental surgery. It also provides traditional methods of treatment such as Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, and Yoga.
- Internationally recognized medical doctors: India’s private hospitals have gained international recognition for their state-of-the-art facilities and diagnostic centers besides unsurpassed skills. Their technology and procedures are on par with hospitals in developed nations.
- Affordable package deals: Foreign patients can get package deals including flights, transfers, hotels, treatment, and postoperative vacation for their medical visits to India.
- Treatment with relaxation: Many foreign patients prefer to combine their leisure and relaxation visits to India with healthcare.
- Government support: The Government of India has declared that treating of foreign patients is legal. It is encouraging medical tourism in the country by offering tax breaks and export incentives to participating hospitals. In addition, the Government has cleared medical visas.
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