Medical tourism is a phenomenon where people travel from their home country to another nation to obtain quality medical attention. The steady increase in the globalisation of health has led to the surge of medical tourism. International trade in health services has also improved medical tourism. While most people prefer to treat their conditions closer to home, various parameters might often become obstacles while seeking medical treatment. In some cases, certain specialists or state-of-the-art practices are not available at a convenient location. Sometimes, the patient may be subject to a lengthy waiting list. Cost, by default, is one of the most influential factors. Health tourists seek equal treatment in countries that can provide the services at a more affordable price. 

There are several reasons people go to India: the history, the food, the weather. But in recent years, another factor attracting guests is healthcare. Healthcare has become one of the most booming sectors, both in terms of earnings and employment. Hospitals, clinical tests, outsourcing, telemedicine, insurance, and medical devices are all part of it. It strives to develop the industry to make it easier for people to come for medical reasons. India exceeds in the state-of-the-art medical amenities, reputed healthcare experts, quality nursing facilities, and traditional healthcare remedies. Traditional medical practices such as Ayurveda, yoga, Unani, and Siddha are now being encouraged to maximise the number of medical tourists. People visit India for health conditions such as cancer treatments, transplants, and cardiac surgery.

The low cost of treatment is the principal factor encouraging many travellers to visit the country to seek medical aid. While other nations have extensive means to obtain a visa, India is constantly working towards making the process smoother and more effective, allowing more international medical visitors to enter the country. Even though India is a developing country, it provides prompt service and cares to patients. Another influential factor that makes India a popular medical tourism destination is English-speaking doctors, overcoming the communication barrier for tourists. 

India is a nation full of opportunities for professionals in the medical equipment industry. The country has also become one of the preeminent destinations for high-end diagnostic support with an enormous capital grant for superior diagnostic facilities. Besides, Indian medical service users have become more informed of their healthcare upkeep. The Indian healthcare sector is diversified and full of possibilities in every section: providers, payers, and medical technology. The competitive benefit also lies in the enhanced success rate of companies in getting new drug consents. India also offers immense possibilities in R&D as well as medical tourism. If considering medical tourism, one should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor and consider working with the insurance provider to arrange a trip that balances financial savings with safety. Also, before you embark overseas for your procedure, make sure you are financially stable for unexpected events and emergencies.

It is necessary to arrange your follow-up care before leaving your home country. Many physicians and surgeons are hesitant to take care of a patient who received care outside the country because they are often unfamiliar with medical tourism and have concerns about the quality of care overseas. Planning for follow-up care will make it easier to transfer to home healthcare without the stress of trying to find a physician after surgery. Just be assured to notify your follow-up care physician where you are having your procedure done.

While there are significant advantages of medical tourism, the shortcomings are worth noting. There is always a chance of poor-quality operation and inappropriate facilities. When patients travel to developing countries like India, the standards of medical care may not always match their expectations which could pose a problem. Additionally, after strenuous surgery, travelling back from another country might lead to complications in the patient’s health. Other challenges associated with medical tourism include adjusting to a new country during treatment, access to the right food, and speaking the same language.

Thus, India is on the correct path to becoming a destination of choice for medical tourism. India has appropriately named the pharmacy to the world. To achieve the stated vision of being ‘the provider to the world’ by delivering quality care at affordable cost, the integrated effort by all key stakeholders comprises the government, health and tourism industry, service providers, facilitators, and regulators is the need of the hour. If the integrated efforts of the shareholders are implemented effectively and monitored to ensure quality, India would be able to guarantee a better travel experience for medical tourists and grow around its competition to become the top player in this segment.

The writer is Group CEO, eExpedise Group.

The low cost of treatment is the principal factor encouraging many travellers to visit the country to seek medical aid.