Monday, July 12, 2010

Medical Tourism - India A Hub Of Medical Tourists

Although medical tourism is relatively a new term but the concept is age old when people traveled to other places in search of better medical treatment. The presence of reputable medical services has often acted as a spur to local economic activity either directly or as a spin off. One only need look at the hive of small businesses bustling around the location of any medium large hospital to realize the truth of this statement. You not only find pharmacies, laboratories and medical supply stores but also a number of eateries, hotels, lodges, banks, general stores and transportation hubs. Secondly India has also for many decades now served as a destination for those seeking better medical treatment or facilities within SAARC and West Asia region.

Medical Tourism As A Part Of Globalization

The determining factor that lower costs play in driving medical tourism cannot be overstated. A heart bypass surgery in India cost about USD 6,500, while in the US it costs between USD 30,000 to USD 80,000. The great emphasis placed on keeping costs down makes medical tourism part and parcel of the process of globalization. The economic logic that has resulted in the transfer of industry and services to regions where costs of production are the lowest is the same that underlies medical tourism as well.

Health care is also considered as a service industry like any other industry like BPO (Business Process Outsourcing). India being a cost efficient country fulfill the needs of overseas people especially US and UK, and radically transformed the economic dimension of the country. Due to heavy medical expense in the first world country, the leading multinational corporations to off-shore and outsource business process and production to other countries, also compels private and national health insurers to encourage their customers to consider undertaking certain medical procedures in India.

Why India

The advantages that India offers as a destination for medical tourism are similar to those that make it an attractive option for IT off shoring. Much like the legion of engineers that dominate the IT sector, Indian doctors are educated in English under a medical curriculum that was closely modeled on the British system. In the last decade or so there has been growing private investment in medical education as well, with a number of private medical colleges being started. The cost of a medical education has been relatively cheaper in India with a bulk of expense being subsidized by the government.

A major selling point of medical tourism is precisely its ability to attract Indian doctors who goes to first world countries for better prospect. Newly returned non-resident Indian (NRI) physicians have served not only as the poster-boys (and girls) of medical tourism in India but in some cases have been prime movers in setting up such hospitals incorporating the latest in medical technology and medical practices, and often bringing with them their entire support staff in order to replicate in minute detail the environment of a first world facility.

There are certainly large sums being bandied about the full potential of medical tourism in India. A much cited CII-McKinsey study estimates that medical tourism can contribute Rs. 5000, 10,000 crore additional revenue for up-market tertiary hospitals by 2012. Leaving aside these astounding figures for the moment, a few preliminary remarks may be in order here regarding the larger effects of medical tourism for Indian economy and society.

Lower cost being the bedrock of medical tourism, this capital intensive service industry cannot sustain itself on temporary cost advantages. In order to ensure that costs remain lower, the industry will have to encourage, directly or indirectly, investment in medical education and research. This may take form of lobbying the government or accreditation bodies such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to periodically raise the quality of medical and nursing graduates and the standard of the medical curriculum, it may take the direct form of setting up new medical colleges with updated educational curricula and facilities, increased focus on research and development of various kinds, or more plausibly greater avenues for apprenticeships and training of medical personnel so that skills are continually updated.


  • vijay says:
    February 3, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Your post has given very valuable informations,keep posting the same informations like this always. our is an one of the Tourism Portal

Post a Comment