What do you mean by medical tourism?

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Medical Tourism is broadly defined as ‘Cost- Effective’ private medical care in collaboration with the Tourism Industry for overseas patients needing specialized treatment.

With globalization increased number of people are traveling to another countries to get treated abroad, quality is the primary factor however cost involved in obtaining quality health care attention that could be surgical or non-surgical procedures is another most important determining factor. Constraints such as high costs and long waiting lists for treatment or surgery have prompted people to look at effective options.

India’s world-class medical technology coupled with a skilled medical workforce will ensure that the Indian medical tourism industry is worth Rs. 10,800 crore ($108 billion) and that the number of foreign patients visiting the country crosses 32 lakh by 2015, according to a report. “Emerging Trends In Domestic Medical Tourism Sector”, prepared by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assoc ham) estimated the current worth of Indian medical tourism industry at around Rs.4,500 crore with about 8.5 lakh foreign patients annually getting treated in India.

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India enjoys strategic advantage of essential resources like world-class medical technology, infrastructure and skilled medical workforce. The rapid-growth will not only earn foreign exchange but will also give a huge boost to the country’s health sector.

According to Assocham, top notch facilities, especially in sectors like cardiology, joint replacement, orthopedic surgery, transplants etc. at a low price, are certain key factors making India a favoured destination. High quality medical care at a fraction of a price people would traditionally pay in developed countries is the basic reason behind this surge in number of patients flocking to India for treatment purposes.

As per the study, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal and New Delhi are fast emerging as India’s best medical centers with facelifts, dental and Botox treatment, tummy tucks, eye care etc. the most sought after treatments.

Further, with holistic medicinal services like yoga, meditation, ayurveda, allopathic etc. India offers a plethora of facilities difficult to match in other countries. Ayurveda is increasingly becoming popular as a non-surgical treatment for various ailments among the patients hailing from abroad, said the study.

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India gets the most
number of foreign patients from the Middle East, followed by the US, Europe and people from neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others.

However, Assocham added that India was facing tough competition from Australia, Belgium, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Hungary among others that are actively promoting healthcare tourism.

The report proposed developing ‘Multi- Specialty Health City’ on public-private partnership basis at 10 centers across the country, which will help us secure a bigger share in the industry and also encourage reverse brain drain by attracting non-resident Indian doctors, experts.

Growth of Medical Tourism

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The Indian healthcare industry is undergoing a rapid expansion phase with 12 per cent CGPA (cumulative growth per annum) since 2008 and its market is poised to gross Rs 12,60,000 crore in revenue by 2020. Government initiatives and public-private partnerships will help create better opportunities for nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and specialised doctors across the country.

According to the Investment Commission of India, the market size of hospitals and nursing homes will be Rs 54,000 crore with 20 per cent growth rate per annum; medical equipment Rs 9,000 crore with 15 per cent growth; clinical lab diagnostics Rs 9,000 crore with 30 per cent growth; imaging diagnostics Rs 4,500 crore with 30 per cent growth and other services, including training and education, aesthetics and weight loss and retail pharmacy Rs 9,000 crore with 40 per cent growth.

Health insurance has the potential to show top line growth, as a study by global advisory McKinsey-CII (Confederation of Indian industry) estimates the number of insurable lives at 315 million (31.5 crore), with a potential of generating Rs 34,650 crore in premium by 2015. Importing customers into India for medical tourism, educational services, and leisure tourism is expected to generate an additional $6-50 billion in revenue and create 10-48 million direct and indirect jobs by 2020.

With a number of innovations and trends in the healthcare sector, there is a need for the private and public sectors to work jointly in the interest of the public. The healthcare sector has emerged as one of the most progressive and largest service sectors in the country. The country’s vision 2020 should include delivery of affordable healthcare system even to the rural poor, besides making available the best healthcare systems.

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India has become Medical Tourism capital of the modern world. Medical Tourism is expected to generate revenue of US $ 350 million by 2013 in India. Medical Tourism in India is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 37 percent from 2009-2012.

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