Medical tourism which is also know by the terms like medical travel, health tourism or global healthcare describes the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to seek healthcare services. Services typically sought by travelers include elective procedures as well as complex surgeries, etc. According to data from the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), approximately 697,453 medical tourists visited India in 2019 alone for medical treatment, and by 2023, India will account for 6% of the global medical value tourism (MVT) market share.
India holds advantage as a medical tourism destination because most of the doctors and surgeons at Indian hospitals are trained or have worked at some of the medical institutions in the US, Europe, or other developed nations, they (the medical staff) are fluent in English and top -of-the-line medical and diagnostic equipment from global international conglomerates are available at many Indian hospitals.
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Even the most budget-conscious traveler can afford first-rate service and luxury amenities in India. Most patients who travel to India for medical treatment look for super-specialized tertiary care, in addition to elective procedures like knee replacements, these also include oncology, neurosurgery, bone marrow transplants, liver and kidney transplants, and pediatric therapies, moreover, India has emerged as a hub for robotics and minimally invasive procedures like TAVI, TAVR, and MitraClip. Another example is a form of radiation therapy which is called proton therapy and done with a pencil beam. Apollo Hospital’s, JCI accredited, integrated oncology center is able to treat a lot of patients from across the world for a third of the cost while still getting good results.
Government of India as rolled out various initiatives to to promote medical tourism in India. Under the Heal in India programme, foreigners or those seeking medical assistance will be able to locate a list of hospitals in the country that can provide their preferred medical treatments, as well as information on the treatment package cost, via an online portal. They will be able to apply for visas through the same platform as well. Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, took lead in establishing the online portal.
Also the AYUSH visa programme was developed with special consideration for foreigners seeking medical treatment in India. The Government of India created a new category of visa called “AYUSH Visa,” which can be granted to international visitors traveling to India for medical treatment, traditional medical procedures and cures will be promoted under the AYUSH initiative. In order to make India the top destination for medical value travel, practitioners of both conventional medicine and AYUSH will collaborate to create a holistic medical ecosystem.
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Talking about medical tourism in India, Shaaz Mehmood, Director & Promoter of Medijourn told Financialexpress.com that India has established itself as the fifth largest global medical value travel destination with an estimated market size of around $9 billion in 2019, we strongly believe that there is a huge potential for India to become the leading global destination for medical tourism within the next few years because of the value proposition of experienced clinicians, top-of-the-line infrastructure, and high-quality outcomes that India has to offer. “With the Government of India’s support through its Heal in India mission, the industry has completely recovered and is set to grow by more than 22% of pre-pandemic levels,” Mehmood said.
Talking about his firm Medijourn which is a medical value travel company, Mehmood said that they are streamlining and easing the patient’s treatment journey, from the initial diagnosis to procedures and even post-consultation handovers to doctors from the patient’s respective home countries. “With hospitals in major cities, Medijourn and its strategic partner Apollo Hospitals provide an clinical and wellness support to their patients. It is recognized for its sole Proton Cancer Therapy centre in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia. It is a fully integrated treatment suite that offers the most advanced treatment in surgical, radiation, and medical procedures.” Medical support firm like Medijourn and multi-speciality hospital chains like Apollo hospitals are talking India’s medical tourism journey forward.
The world is coming to India
India is successfully attracting medical travellers from all across the globe. There is a large influx of medical tourism from regions such as the SAARC, particularly from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, who travel to India in search of high-quality healthcare services. It has historically been a very strong collaborator with Middle Eastern nations like Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, and Yemen. East Africa, which includes Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia, sees India as the ideal destination for medical tourism Some ASEAN nations, including Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as the CIS nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan, also prefer India as a medical travel destination. Recently, there have been trends in patients traveling from the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and even South America, especially for proton therapy. In comparison to the United States, Australia, Singapore, or the United Kingdom, India can provide cost savings of up to 65-90%, this represents significant savings for patients. The medical tourism industry in India is surely up for an unprecedented growth.