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Medical tourism can be defined as the process of traveling outside the country of residence for the purpose of receiving medical care.

Advantages of medical treatment in India include reduced costs, the availability of latest medical technologies, and a growing compliance on international quality standards, doctors trained in western countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. Although there are certain risks associated with seeking medical care

Advantages of medical treatment in India include reduced costs, the availability of latest medical technologies, and a growing compliance on international quality standards, doctors trained in western countries including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Although there are certain risks associated with seeking medical care in a foreign country along with some concerns regarding the quality of services offered there, yet medical tourism is generally a safe and viable option for most patients.

Countries For Medical Tourism

  1. India. For patients in need of cardiac and orthopedic surgeries, Indiais growing in medical travel popularity. …
  2. With a healthcare system that ranks sixth in the world according to the World Health Organization, Singapore attracts thousands of international patients each year. …
  3. South Korea.

Wellness tourism is travel for the purpose of promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities.Yoga,Ayurvedic,Homeopathic treatment also play pivotal role in Medical Tourism/Health Tourism/Wellness Tourism in India.

The leading destinations of medical tourism in India are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, New Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, the report said.(Sep 1, 2014)

Considered the health capital of India, Chennai welcomes many international patients for treatment. A study found that around 40 per cent of international patients choose Chennai as the preferred destination for high-quality treatment.Ahmedabad is also growing as Hub in current scenario and Orthopedic knee replacement surgery(Credit to Shalby Hospital) is main surgery carried out at Ahmedabad.

Beginning in the late 1980s, the island country started programs to lure foreigners from India, Latin America and Europe for eye surgeries, heart procedures and cosmetic procedures. The Cuban government said it welcomed 2,000 medical tourists in 1990.

Medical tourism can boost tourism receipts and employment in both medical centres as well as in other sectors. … Medical tourism employment in India is estimated to be about 167000. The growth of medical tourism in India is accelerating and expected to reach USD 8 billion by 2020.But Covid-19 has halted the progress of medical tourism globally.

Medical tourism in India: In 2015, the number of Foreign Tourist arrivals for medical purpose in India were 2,33,918, in 2016, the figures went up to 4,27,014, in 2017, the numbers were 4,95,056, as per information provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.(Oct 9, 2020)

India is a land known for its diversities, rich culture, historical attractions and geographical landmarks. Hence it already becomes a magnet of attention on international level. So, reasons why people choose India as their preferable medical destination are:

  • International accreditation is available in hospitals
  • Cheaper treatment fee compared to the other destinations offering the same treatment
  • Good flight connectivity
  • Availability of over 650 thousand doctors
  • High skilled experts with good communication skills are offered
  • Empowered Pharmacy sector which is achieving international recognition
  • Fluent English speaking staff for easier and comfortable communication
  • No waiting time, that is patients can get their treatment anytime they wish to unlike other medical destinations
  • Most importantly, Unani, Siddha, Naturopathy, Yogaand Ayurveda have its origin on this land. And in case of any minor ailments these provide the best cure and can be put under an alternative choice available

 

Covid-19 effect!!

A meeting was held by Foundation of Healthcare & Wellness Promotion to discuss how this havoc situation of coronavirus as forced India’s Medical Tourism to face a prolonged pause which might continue for the next few months. The meeting was attended by the thought leaders of the industry like eExpedise Healthcare, Magnus Medi, Shinon Global and HBG Medical Assistance.

The President of Foundation of Healthcare & Wellness Promotion, Mr. Dilip Chopra said with sorrow, “There are many medical tourism players who have brought India to the top of the world medical tourism map, unfortunately, today they stare at a dark future”. To which the CEO and Founder of eExpedise, Mr. Amit Sharma mentioned that how the corona conditions remain the same for the next 6 months then Medical Value Travel industry will get hit by a fiscal Damage of 2.5 billion dollars. And this amount of revenue could have only been generated if their business was on the usual pace for a count of 8 months without the coronavirus disruption. HBG Medical Assistance’s President,Dr. Abhik Moitra said’ “the geographies from parents arrival,- Africa, Central Asia and most of West Asia- are still in early stages of coronavirus. There, the cycle may last even longer as they started late. Thus, to expect to business to start back in one month’s time is a distant dream.”

Considering such a drowning situation the major crowd has requested the government to take some necessary steps like

  • Reduce restrictions on oversea patients (with adequate measures ensuring that they don’t spread coronavirus)
  • With FICCI,COVID compact council must also be involved for an increased support for the Medical Value Tourism
  • This industry gets recognized as independent industry
  • Immediate financial support and stimulus needed by the Medical Value Tourism companies which purely drives the industry, or else the industry might lose its existance and consequences like immense predictable and unpredictable forex loss, choking of future multi-billionaire inflow opportunities and heavy unemployment might be faced.

The hope to stand back…

Every business in India along with the world has got a hard smash from Covid-19 and are expected to take a tortoise walk on the revival path. But the tourism ministry of the nation assures that India will remain the cheapest, safest and the most chosen as well as reliable medical tourism destination even after the pandemic.

It is believed by the Director of Indian Tourism Development Corporation, Mr. Piyush Tiwari that Indian Medical Tourism Industry will leave the developed countries of Europe and America behind to get back on the track of revival.  He said that, “Medical Tourists will probably be much more aware of where to go medically safe; the country seems to be to them and medical travel destinations like India that have a lower number of covid-19 cases and fewer deaths relating to the virus are likely to have a faster recovery.

If the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t there to disrupt the equilibrium then the medical tourism space was predicted to grow its value up to9 billion dollars.

This sector has been equally hit as the other economic sectors, and this year is likely not to be much fruitful in the wake of covid-19. The revival will be really quick but it depends completely on the availability of medicines and vaccines for fighting coronavirus.

Guiding principles on medical tourism

The American Medical Association advocates that employers, insurance companies, and other entities that facilitate or incentivize medical care outside the United States adhere to the following principles:

  1. Medical care outside the United States must be voluntary.
  2. Financial incentives to travel outside the United States for medical care should not inappropriately limit the diagnostic and therapeutic alternatives that are offered to patients, or restrict treatment or referral options.
  3. Patients should only be referred for medical care to institutions that have been accredited by recognized international accrediting bodies (such as the Joint Commission International or the International Society for Quality in Health Care).
  4. Prior to travel, local follow-up care should be coordinated and financing should be arranged to ensure continuity of care when patients return from medical care outside the United States.
  5. Coverage for travel outside the United States for medical care must include the costs of necessary follow-up care upon return to the United States.
  6. Patients should be informed of their rights and legal recourse before agreeing to travel outside the United States for medical
  7. Access to physician licensing and outcome data, as well as facility accreditation and outcomes data, should be arranged for patients seeking medical care outside the United States.
  8. The transfer of patient medical records to and from facilities outside the United States should be consistent with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Action (HIPAA) guidelines.
  9. Patients choosing to travel outside the United States for medical care should be provided with information about the potential risks of combining surgical procedures with long flights and vacation activities.

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