Medical Tourism has been one of the fastest growing sectors in India. By 2015, it is expected to become an approximately 9500-crore industry in the country. Every year, around 150,000 patients from the developed world come to India for affordable healthcare. According to the current estimates, the cost of treatment is just around 10% of the cost compared to the United States and the United Kingdom. Some of the least expensive treatments foreigners flock to India are for hip replacement, alternative medicine, eye surgery, cardiac bypass, and bone marrow transplant.
Other than the low costs and quality healthcare, medical tourists from the English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom prefer travelling to India, as they wouldn’t have to face the language barriers like they would face in countries like China and South American countries, where English isn’t spoken much. The Indian government has also shown a lot of interest in formulating policies to encourage medical tourism in the country.
Today, there is a lot of competition between the private and the public sector to make India one of the future hubs of medical tourism. A lot of private hospitals, over the years, have invested in the latest, world-class medical technology to woo medical tourists from all over the world.
To convince the medical community and patients from the United States, who have always been a bit skeptical about the healthcare standard in India, most top hospitals have acquired the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation or are in the process of applying. Some of the Indian hospitals with JCI accreditation are the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Calcutta; the Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai; and the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi.
Ancient India had already been the hub of alternative medicine in yoga and meditation centers across the country. However, due to constant foreign invasion, British colonialism, and the advancement of Western clinical medicine, alternative Indian medicine lost its popularity. However, things have now changed with the advent of medical tourism, and people visit India for both Western medicine and alternative Indian medicine.
Medical Tourism in India Costs
According to a recent survey, around 10,000 medical tourists from the United Kingdom have been visiting India over the last few years for cosmetic surgeries like facelifts and tummy tucks. A tummy tuck, which costs around £6500 in the United Kingdom, costs just around £1500 pounds (inclusive of a vacation package) in India. While a surgery for mitral valve prolapse costs around $200,000 in the United Kingdom and around $40,000 in the United States, in India it costs around $7,000.
The rise of medical tourism in India has also created a lot of job opportunities in the country, as the industry requires a lot of planning and processes to be implemented. With a lot of high-tech Indian hospitals entering the fray, fresh Indian graduates can earn up to Rs. 15,000 per month. Medical tourism is also seen as a future growth opportunity for insurance companies, which would create even more jobs. Judging by the zeal shown by both hospitals and the government, the future of medical tourism looks a lot brighter than it was a few years back.