India’s medical tourism industry has grown rapidly over the past decade, with nearly 2 million patients visiting from neighbouring countries each year and generating $13 billion in forex annually.
However, to become the top medical travel destination, improvements are needed in the ecosystem surrounding patient experience and accommodation. Investment in medical travel facilitators and standardised guesthouses is crucial, as is pursuing the opportunity for selling Indian health insurance to foreigners, potentially generating an additional $9 billion.
Cross-border telemedicine also presents a large opportunity, given India’s skilled workforce and cost advantage.
In this blog, we will explore the benefits and risks of medical tourism in India, as well as provide tips for those considering travelling to India for medical treatment.
Medical tourism is a growing industry, and India is one of the most popular destinations for medical tourism. India has a well-established healthcare system, and many hospitals in India are accredited by international organisations such as Joint Commission International (JCI) and National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH).
Additionally, India offers world-class medical treatment at a fraction of the cost of Western countries.
How is India becoming a popular medical hub for patients?
India is rapidly becoming a popular medical hub for patients due to a variety of factors.
- Firstly, the country has a world-class healthcare industry that offers top-quality treatment at a fraction of the cost compared to other countries. This is due to the availability of highly skilled doctors and modern hospitals.
- Secondly, India’s traditional systems of medicine, such as Ayurveda, Yoga, and Panchakarma, which are some of the oldest forms of medicine in the world, are gaining immense popularity globally.
The combination of modern and traditional medicine makes India a unique destination for medical tourism, with patients seeking a holistic approach to healthcare.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has implemented various measures to promote medical tourism in India. These include:
Special provision of Medical Visa available in 165 countries, a feedback mechanism to obtain testimonials from medical tourists, and the ‘Heal in India’ initiative which aims to position the country as a global hub for medical and wellness tourism.
The initiative includes an online portal for foreigners seeking medical treatments, which provides a one-stop-shop for all services from treatment package costs to grievance redressals and feedback.
The initiative also aims to diversify its operations by sending Indian doctors abroad to treat patients.
Benefits of Medical Tourism in India:
- Cost-effective treatment: The cost of medical treatment in India is significantly lower than in Western countries. Patients can save up to 80% of the cost of medical treatment in India compared to the USA.
- Quality healthcare: Indian hospitals offer world-class healthcare facilities and services. Many hospitals in India have internationally trained doctors and nurses, and are equipped with the latest medical equipment and technology.
- No waiting time: In many Western countries, patients have to wait months or even years for medical treatment. However, in India, patients can receive medical treatment immediately, without having to wait.
- Travel and tourism opportunities: Patients can combine their medical treatment with travel and tourism. India is a popular tourist destination, with a rich cultural heritage and diverse cuisine.
Risks of Medical Tourism in India:
- Language barriers: Patients who do not speak the local language may face communication difficulties with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
- Infection control: Infection control standards in some Indian hospitals may not be up to the same standards as those in Western countries.
- Cultural differences: Patients may experience cultural differences in medical treatment and patient care.
- Travel risks: Patients may face travel risks, such as jet lag, long flights, and exposure to different climates and diseases.
Tips for Medical Tourism in India:
- Choose a reputable hospital: Do your research and choose a hospital that is accredited by international organisations such as JCI and NABH.
- Consult with your doctor: Consult with your doctor before travelling to India for medical treatment. Your doctor can advise you on the risks and benefits of medical tourism and help you make an informed decision.
- Plan your trip: Plan your trip in advance and make sure to arrange for transportation, accommodation, and other logistics.
- Communicate effectively: Communicate effectively with healthcare professionals and make sure to ask questions if you do not understand something.
- Follow infection control guidelines: Follow infection control guidelines, such as washing your hands regularly and wearing a mask if necessary.
India, despite being a developing country, offers world-class and standardised medical services and care, aided by the latest technology.
In conclusion, the demand for the healthcare industry is expected to surge in the post-Covid world, and India has a significant potential to attract medical tourists from around the globe, including Europe and the Americas. The government’s efforts to make India the hub of medical tourism, combined with the increasing demand, are likely to make India a leading destination for medical tourism in the future. This development not only saves lives but also generates valuable jobs and more than $13 billion in forex, highlighting the potential benefits of medical tourism for India’s economy and healthcare sector.
Ayu Health is the largest chain of most trusted hospitals across the country with a team of 3000+ highly skilled doctors and state-of-the-art facilities, we’re committed to provide patients with comprehensive and personalised treatment plans. Whether you are seeking treatment for a chronic condition or simply looking to improve your overall well-being, book a consultation atAyu Health to help you achieve your health goals.