Snapshot of medical tourism in india


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Snapshot of medical tourism in india

  1. 1. International Journal of Biomedical and Advance Research                                                                144   MEDICAL TOURISM IN INDIA: A NEW AVENUE Anand N. Badwe*1, Purushottam A. Giri2, Ramchandra G. Latti3*1 Associate Professor, Dept. of Physiology, Rural Medical College & Pravara Rural Hospital, Loni,Dist. Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India2 Associate Professor, Dept. of Community Medicine (PSM), Rural Medical College & Pravara RuralHospital, Loni, Dist. Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India3 Professor and Head, Dept. of Physiology, Rural Medical College & Pravara Rural Hospital, Loni,Dist. Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, IndiaE-mail of Corresponding Author: drpgiri14@gmail.comAbstractMedical tourism is attracting attention of travelers from all over the globe. It combines a travel at easeand availing medical health care facility at low cost as per traveler’s own choice. World class medicalhealth care is available in some of the Asian countries, such as India, Philippines and Singapore etc.Medical tourism has become one of the major industries in recent times. Medical Tourism India(Health Tourism India) is a developing concept whereby people from world over visit India for theirmedical and relaxation needs. Most common treatments are heart surgery, knee transplant, cosmeticsurgery and dental care. The reason India is a favourable destination is because of its infrastructureand technology in which is in par with developed countries. India has some of the best hospitals andtreatment centers in the world with the best facilities.Keywords: Medical tourism; Public healthcare; foreign patients; Incredible India1. Introduction: Medical tourism will be particularly attractiveMedical Tourism in the global context is at the in US, where an estimated 43 million peoplerising trend in the third world because of are without health insurance and 120 millionaffordability, cost, facility and expertise of without dental coverage- these numbers thatsome countries from the first world and also are both likely to grow. India has emerged as afrom the third world countries too. Third significant destination for treatment andworld countries like Cuba, Argentine, Mexico, tourism is not a new story. The country offersHungary, South Africa, Thailand, Singapore great value for money in terms of medicaland India are the major players in the world. treatment for both visitors from developedDeveloped world look for cost savings for countries as well as developing countries.treatment outside the country, developing India offers treatment at between half and one-countries are looking for expertise and the cost third the cost of similar treatments infactors for considering a neighbouring neighbouring medical tourism hot spots suchcountry. Health tourism, in the Indian context as Singapore and Thailand. And that is whyis at par with other industry in the domestic some intrepid patients started flocking to Indiasector.1 Ten years ago; medical tourism was almost a decade ago in search of treatment andhardly large enough to be noticed in India. cure.Today more than 250, 000 patients per yearvisit Singapore alone – nearly half of them 2. What is medical tourism?from the Middle East. This year approximately Tourism is well known term, meant to explorehalf a million foreign patients will travel to new areas, enjoy leisure time at peace.India for medical care, where as in 2002 it was However, since few years a new term asonly 150,000. In monetary terms experts ‘medical tourism’ is catching everybody’sestimate that medical tourism could bring attention. Medical tourism can be defined asIndia as much as $ 2.2 billion per year by “medical tourism or medical travel, is the act2012. Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, of traveling to other countries to obtainSouth Africa, Jordan, Malaysia, Hungary, medical, dental and surgical care at ease andLatvia and Estonia all have broken in to the with affordability of traveler’s choice.” Thelucrative market as well, or are trying to do so, term was initially coined by travel agenciesand more countries to join this list every year.1 and the media as catch all phrase to describe aIJBAR (2012) 03(03)                                            
  2. 2. Review Article                                               Badwe et al 145  rapidly growing industry, where people travel and medications, good facilities are alsoto other countries to receive medical care.2 available in the other traditional forms of medicine as well as in modern medical3. History of medical tourism:- treatment.5The concept of medical tourism is not newone. The first recorded instance of medical 5. Reasons for rise in medical tourism:-tourism dates back to thousands of years, 1. Best of the medical facilities and expertisewhen Greek pilgrims traveled from all over the are not available in the parent country ofMediterranean to the small territory in the tourist. This is mostly applicable to thesardonic gulf called Epiduria. This territory developed and under developed countries.was the sanctuary of the healing god 2. Long waiting list for minor or majorAlkelspios. Epidura became the original travel medical procedure is maintained indestination for medical tourism.3 countries like USA, UK, etc. 3. Higher cost of medical care.4. Why there is growth in medical 4. Improvements in technology and standards tourism? of medical care are now available in otherMedical tourism is not new to country like countries at low cost.India. Especially, such centers like Mumbai, 5. Convenience and speedy availability ofDelhi, Chennai, etc, which are providing good medical care as per patient’s choice.medical care, since very long. People or 6. Hurdles faced by patient regardingtourists from various neighbouring countries medical insurance settlement etc. inare frequently visiting our country for western countries (Such as non cover ofavailable best medical care at affordable cost. orthopedic surgery i.e. knee, hipHowever, India is becoming one of the major replacement, restrictions on the choice ofhubs, for providing medical care to various the facility, surgeon or prosthetics to becategories of foreigners, visiting from all over used).the globe. It is interesting to note that in year 7. The ease and affordability of international2005 alone, over 1, 50,000 visitors from 55 travel.different countries visited India for various 8. Efficiency of Indian doctors, supportingtypes of treatment.4 there is steady rise in staff and personal attention in patient care.number of tourists visiting as patients fromAfrica, Oman, where there is paucity of 6. Availability of various medicalmedical facilities and expertise. Above all, in portfolios in India: 6some parts of the country world class medical According to Medical Tourism Corporationfacilities are available at fraction of the cost as (MTC) network of medical service providerscompared to other countries. The main aim of various medical portfolios of medical care aremedical tourism is to provide, healthcare available in Indiaservices outside the home country of the ( as:tourist patients. Such services may typically 1. Bariatric Surgeryinclude elective procedures, complex 2. Blood vessel system surgeryspecialized surgeries such as knee, hip 3. Cardiologyreplacement, heart surgery, dental procedure 4. Female reproductive system and pregnancyand cosmetic surgeries. Apart from this, many 5. Fertilityforeigners are attracted towards traditional 6. General surgerymedical system like Ayurvedic and 7. Hair replacementNaturopathy etc. Kerala, or God’s Own 8. Hernia repair surgeryCountry as its corporate slogan goes, has 9. Orthopedics and joint replacementspioneered health and medical tourism in India. 10. Kidney and urinary systemThey have made a concerted effort to promote 11. Laparoscopic surgery (minimally invasive)health tourism in a big way, which has resulted 11. Male reproductive system and urinary tractin a substantial increase of visitor arrivals into 12. Neuro surgery and spine proceduresthe state. Kerala and Ayurveda have virtually 13. Oncology (cancer)become synonymous with each other. 14. Stomach and bowelHowever, though Kerala has strongly focussedon Ayurveda and its wide array of treatments  IJBAR (2012) 03(03)                                            
  3. 3. Review Article                                               Badwe et al 146  7. Present scenario in India:- reproductive health care, cardiology, urology,Presently health care in western countries has cosmetic surgery, dentistry, since medical carebecome very much expensive not only for and highly skilled, talented professionals areminor surgeries but also for major surgerical available at affordable cost as compared toprocedures. Compared to the countries like their own countries. Especially in AsianUK or the US, procedure like heart bypass countries like Philippines, India, Singapore,surgery or angioplasty comes at a fraction of Thailand and Honk Kong etc. are becomingthe cost in India, even though the quality of major hubs for medical tourism. However,doctors and medical equipment is comparable India is emerging as most preferred destinationto the best in the world. This situation in west for medical care across the globe. The numberAsia has changed the total concept of India as of foreign tourists visiting is continuallyone of the best centers providing high quality increasing since year 2005.7 It is noteworthy tohealth care and has become health care mention a portion of article published inindustry. Some foreigners visit as first timer or Udaily by University of Delaware “the cost offrequently only for surgeries. Some of them surgery in Bolivia, Argentina, India, Thailand,come on vacation with major agenda of Colombia, Philippines or South Africa can bemedical care in their travel plans. Tourists one tenth of what is in the United States orcome for orthopedic, ophthalmology, Western Europe and sometimes even less.8For heart valve replacement surgery, cost Table -1 show comparative cost amounts forwould be $ 200,000 or more in US and that aesthetic procedures in different countries allgoes for $ 100,000 in the Philippines and over the world where India is the mostIndia, which includes round the trip air fare economical with assured quality.and a brief vacation package. Similarly a metalfree dental bridge worth $ 5,500 in the US and 8. Preliminaries required starting a centercosts $ 500 in India or Bolivia and only $ 200 of excellence for medical tourism:-in the Philippines, knee replacement in the • It requires huge financial investment forThailand with six days of physical therapy latest modern set up in medical centre.costs about – one fifth of what is would cost in • Good infrastructure and availability ofthe States. Lasik eye surgery worth $ 3,700 in convenient transport for touriststhe US is available in many other countries for • Up gradation of medical facilities fromonly $ 730.9 Some of the medical centers in time to timethe country are well known for specialized • Availability of excellent accommodationprocedures like angioplasty, knee replacement, facilitieship resurfacing, rhinoplasty, heart surgery, • Cost affordability and Insurance coverbone marrow transplant etc. The government • Highly trained man powerand private hospital groups are committed to • A good coordination between governmentthe goal making India as a world leader in the policies and medical industrymedical industry at affordable cost. In spite of • Legal protection in medical disputesgreat availability of skilled professionals,medical care in country is still lagging behind • Accreditation of medical facilities by IOS (International Organization ofin achieving number one position slot asmedical tourism, due to the poor availability of Standardization) and JCI (Joint Commission International), or governmentinfrastructure and good hotels. These issues regulatory authority like Medical Councilare needed to be addressed with top priority to of India and Health Ministry of India.improve present scenario. The greatest asset ofthe country is its large English speaking • Hospitals, institutes having availability ofpopulation, who can communicate easily with all facilities under one roof, such as,foreigners. From foregoing discussion it is various surgical procedures,clear that, medical tourism in India has physiotherapy, dentistry etc.become most preferred destination amongst • A need of proper pricing policy as perforeigners, due to availability of all medical accredited medical facilities is must.facilities at lower cost with world standards as • A good marketing strategy is required tocompared with other western countries.10 promote medical tourism by medical service providers  IJBAR (2012) 03(03)                                            
  4. 4. Review Article                                               Badwe et al 147    9. Risks and threats: 11 Acknowledgement: • There must be agencies to check Authors are very much thankful to Dr. K. S. credentials of the medical tourists Soodan, Ex-Principal, Rural Medical College, regarding his/her medical history politico- Loni for his valuable guidance. socio economic background, since India is facing a terrorist threat very often. References: • Cheating or exploitation by unauthorized 1. Rath SP, Das B, Mishra S, Puthan P. New individuals of patents which may send Avenue of Tourism & Revenue wrong message about medical torism of Generation in India –“Medical Tourism. the country. International Journal of Business and• A proper settlement of insurance coverage Management Tomorrow, 2012 vol.2 No.1 of overseas medical treatment. PP- 1-14. 2. Aljazeera. Indian medical care goes global10. Benefits of medical tourism:- net.18th June 2008. [Cited 2011 Dec 31]; Development of medical tourism will offer Available from http:// various benefits such as:-• A good revenue generation for foreign 3. Nair, R.S., Medical Tourism in India, exchange. Manorama, Kochi, India, 2009, PP- 572-• Will generate a good number of 577. employment opportunities for local 4. Buckwalter Sabrina. The healing touch of population. Indian prices. Sunday Times Of India,• India will become one of the important Pune Edition 2007 January 14, page 2 preferred destinations for medical tourism (col.1) on the world map. 5. Ministry of Tourism, Government of• More foreigners will be attracted for India, 2010, Tourism statistics at a glance 2009, New Delhi, India medical tourism. 6. Medical Tourism Destinations. [Cited• Medical professionals will develop a great 2012 Jan26] degree of medical expertise with foreign medical.php. patients, which will help to establish 7. Annual Report of Ministry of Human training centers to train the medical Resource Development (MHRD), 2009- professionals at medical care service 10, GOI, New Delhi providers. 8. Becca H. Medical tourism growing• Pharmaceutical industries will get strong worldwide. Udaily: 25th July 2005. [Cited boost in terms of development, research 2011 Feb28] Available from and in revenue earnings.• Even remote areas of country with good 9. Chravarthy K, Ravi Kumar C, Deepthi K. infrastructure can become good centres of SWOT analysis on: Medical Tourism medical tourism. paper presented in Conference on Medical Tourism in India Challenges Ahead, 15-Conclusion: 17, May 2008, IIMK.India is having a large pool of trained medical 10. Tondon, S., World health opportunity,practitioners, good hospital facilities at lower Business World, April, India, 2011, PP-cost affordability with highly skilled 28-34.personnel. Medical practioners are having 11. TNN, 19th June, 2011, For Body Mind &good competence in their profession as Soul, the Times of India, Pune edition,compared with their foreign counterparts. India.Hence India can become a most preferred 12. Medical tourism [online]. [Cited 2012 Jandestination for medical tourism. 15]; Available from  IJBAR (2012) 03(03)                                            
  5. 5. Review Article                                               Badwe et al 148   Table - 1: Comparative cost amounts for aesthetic procedures in different countries12 Surgery USA Europe Argentina Bolivia Brazil Colombia India 5500 2300 1200 2100 2000 1700 Rhinopalsty 6000 (91.66) (38.33) (20) (35) (33.33) (28.33) 12500 4300 2600 4500 4200 4500 Face lift 15000 (28.67) (28.67) (17.33) (30) (28) (30) Breast 7500 3700 2500 3800 3200 3900 8000 augmentation (93.75) (46.23) (31.25) (47.5) (40) (48.75) Breast 8000 3900 2400 3600 3400 3700 9000 reduction (88.89) (43.33) (26.67) (40) (37.78) (41.11) 11000 4500 2700 4700 3800 4800 Liposuction 13500 (81.48) (33.33) (20) (34.81) (28.15) (35.55) Gluteal 9000 4000 3000 4200 3800 4500 9000 augmentation (44.44) (33.33) (41.66) (42.22) (50)(Figures in parenthesis indicates percentage of comparative cost reduction as compared with US inUS $)  IJBAR (2012) 03(03)