A medical trip to India or a vacation?

Tourism has always been an industry that has seen phenomenal rise in India. However, medical tourism is a dimension of this industry that has witnessed a sharp growth over the last few years and continues to touch newer heights with each passing day.


A recent beneficiary of this soaring business, Idris Kabir Maska, a Nigerian resident, who had come to India for the cochlear implant surgery of his child, recounted his experience. “The adequacy of information and assistance I was provided with helped me zero in on India”, he said. Maska had hit upon Delhi-based medical tourism online portal MediconnectIndia.

With healthcare getting dearer in the western countries, cost effectiveness and credit facilities are drawing a number of people to India. With an annual growth rate of 30%, India is all set to become the number one destination for medical tourism.

Clubbing medical care with other services such as accommodation and sightseeing, various operators in the industry are making medical trip, almost a kind of a vacation. Witnessing the current trend, the CII-Grant Thornton White Paper expects the Indian medical tourism industry to grow from the current $3 billion to $8 billion by the year 2020.

Most of the details of these treatments along with their packages are provided on the company website itself and can be accessed and booked just with a convenience of a click.

Catering nearly 15 patients a month, MediconnectIndia, puts up a list of various treatments with different categories like cancer treatment packages as well as cosmetic surgery packages, along with their pricing details. An official from the enterprise says, “Most customers do extensive research online. Our role is to schedule doctor appointments, arrange transport between the airport, hotel and hospital and aid in scheduling post-operative check-ups”.

The company provides assistance to customers from the point they plan their journey to the time they are finally back home and the whole trip include medical opinions and evaluations, advice along with the fee details and stay with post-operative care.

But studies have suggested that it not the economy of the treatment which draws medical tourists to India but the quality of their services. “Besides cost, it is the quality of the care and a personalized experience”, Raghunath P, the facility director, Fortis Malar Hospital was noted as saying.

“The idea is to create a personalized interaction with the patients. The West is process driven and people choose to come to India because we adopt a holistic approach,” he further added. The concept adopts the model based on the referrals from the doctors with commissions on various treatments. “We enter into MoUs with various hospitals, which helps us get the best rates which are 10%-40% cheaper than the prevailing rates,” Said Mr. Rane.

Moreover, non-metro cities offer medical care at far lesser price than the metros, so Mr. Rane anticipates the traffic diverting to these cities. However, Raghunath carries a different viewpoint. “Availability of direct flights has a significant bearing on the decision of the location. While metros are connected directly, non-metros do not provide the same connectivity,” quoted M. Raghunath.

With India located firmly on a rising pedestal in the medical tourism, it’s important that country does not lose its poise. Customer appeasement and international level services for the tourists from abroad is all that India needs to stay on the ascending curve. Following the necessary standards, the international patient team at Fortis Malar has been trained to be sensitive to people from different countries and cultures and be equipped with basic etiquettes to greet people on their important events.

“As local areas begin to provide basic surgeries, complicated procedures will bring people to India”, added Raghunath P. finally.

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