Medical tourism can be broadly defined as provision of cost effective private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry for patients needing surgical and other forms of specialized treatment. This process is being facilitated by the corporate sector involved in medical care as well as the tourism industry - both private and public.
Medical tourists are generally residents of the industrialized nations of the world and primarily come from The United States Canada, Great Britain, Western Europe , Australia, Middle East.But more and more, people from many other countries of the world are seeking out places where they can combine vacationing and obtaining their medical care at an affordable cost.
The medical tourism in India has been increasing every year for the spectrum of treatments that are being offered in most major hospitals which are:- Cardiac Surgery Orthopedics Gynecology Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Obesity surgery Ophthalmology Dentistry Urology
India offers World Class Medical Facilities, comparable with any of the western countries. India has state of the art Hospitals and the best qualified doctors. With the best infrastructure, the best possible Medical facilities, accompanied with the most competitive prices, you can get the treatment done in India at the lowest charges. India is in the process of becoming the “Global Health Destination”
The cost of medical services in India is almost 30% lower to that in Western countries and the cheapest in South-east Asia. Indian hospitals excel in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, joint replacements, transplants, cosmetic treatments, dental care, orthopedic surgery
Offshore medical procedures are conducted for as much as one-tenth the cost of a comparable treatment in developed countries due to the economic disparity. A bone-marrow transplant which would cost you around $250,000 in the US and £150,000 in UK will cost you a mere $26,000 in India. A patient can successfully get a gastric bypass surgery in India by paying just $9,500 as against a $65,000 price tag for the same in the US. It is also a good idea to avail a medical tourism package which would include airfare, accommodation charges and a visit to some of the holiday destinations in the country.
Medical Tourism is poised to be the next Indian success story after Information Technology. According to a CII study the Industry’s earning potential estimated at Rs.5000-10000 Crore by 2012. Medical tourism can contribute Rs 5,000- 10,000 Crore additional revenue for up- market tertiary hospitals by 2012and will account for 3- 5% of the total healthcare delivery market.
The major service providers in Indian medical tourism : The Apollo Hospital, Escorts Hospital, Fortis Hospitals, Breach Candy, Hinduja, Mumbai’s Asian Heart Institute, Arvind Eye Hospital, Manipal Hospitals, Mallya Hospital, AIIMS. In terms of location- Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai cater to the maximum number of the health tourists and are fast emerging as medical tourism hubs. Nowadays medical tourism in India includes advanced and life savings health care services like open transpalnts, cardio vascular surgery,
CONTU……. Eye treatment, knee/ hip different cosmetic surgeries and alternate systems of medicine.
The commitment to provide comprehensive healthcare to all citizens, irrespective of their paying capacity, was given up by the Indian government after 30 years of the Indian independence. After the globalization and liberalization of Indian economy on 1991, the government of India has opened up medical service to the voluntary and private sectors for foreign tourists and other citizen who can pay to get the high tech medical services.
The rapid growth of the private sector over the 1980s and the emergence of a corporate health sector in the 1980s was a part of the comprehensive policy that choose to promote these segments. As a part of medical tourism, India is recognized as the cradle for the test tube babies and is popular for surrogacy services . Over than these, India offer high tech cardiac, paediatric, dental, cosmetic and orthopaedic surgical services as well as the traditional healing systems.
One estimate by Pricewaterhouse Coopers projects that the Indian healthcare sector should be worth about $40 billion by 2012. In 2008 the size of the industry was around Rs. 1,500 crores. India’s medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30 percent, making it a Rs. 9,500 crore industry by 2015. Estimates of the value of medical tourism to India go as high as $2 billion a year by 2012.
The Developing strategies on indian medical tourism is based on the 7 ps of marketing mix: Product Price Place Process Physical Evidence People promotion
India is emerging as an attractive, affordable for healthcare & BUT there are some challenges that the country has to overcome to become a tourist destination with competent health care industry. The government should step in the role of a regulator and a facilitator of private investment in healthcare. An apex body for the industry needs to be formed to promote the India brand abroad and aid inter- sectoral coordination. Joint ventures with overseas partners and establishment of MEDICITIES will help in India building a significant advantage and leadership position in the industry.
CII- Mckinsey (2002): “Health care in India : The Road Ahead”, CII, Mckinsey and company and Healthcare federation, New Delhi. Cohen, E.(2010). Medical Tourism, A critical evaluation Tourism Recreation Research, 35(3), 225-238 International journal of Multidisciplinary Research Vol.1 Issue 3, july 2011, ISSN 2231 5780