Health Travel - India
Health Travel (Medical tourism) is a growing sector in India. India’s medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30%, making it a $2 billion industry by 2015.As medical treatment costs in the developed world balloon - with the United States leading the way - more and more Westerners are finding the prospect of international travel for medical care increasingly appealing. An estimated 150,000 of these travel to India for low-priced health care procedures every year.
Advantages for medical tourists include reduced costs, the availability of latest medical technologies and a growing compliance on international quality standards, as well as the fact that foreigners are less likely to face a language barrier in India. The Indian government is taking steps to address infrastructure issues that hinder the country's growth in medical tourism.
Most estimates claim treatment costs in India start at around a tenth of the price of comparable treatment in America or Britain.The most popular treatments sought in India by medical tourists are alternative medicine, bone-marrow transplant, cardiac bypass, eye surgery and hip replacement. India is known in particular for heart surgery, hip resurfacing and other areas of advanced medicine.
The city of Chennai has been termed India's health capital. Multi - and super-specialty hospitals across the city bring in an estimated 150 international patients every day. Chennai attracts about 45 percent of health tourists from abroad arriving in the country and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. Factors behind the tourists inflow in the city include low costs, little to no waiting period, and facilities offered at the specialty hospitals in the city. The city has an estimated 12,500 hospital beds, of which only half is used by the city's population with the rest being shared by patients from other states of the country and foreigners.
Federal health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad says, "Affordable health care does not mean our medicine is inferior to any superpower’s. I would like to say our medicines are indigenous, they are superior, and superiority does not come by escalating costs."
"Patients do not travel to India for health care services because they have a choice and they choose to go to India," says Ravi Aron, professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a senior fellow at The Mack Centre for Technological Innovation at Wharton. Adds Rana Mehta, executive director, Price water house Coopers (PwC) India: "If patients see value in what India has to offer, they will continue to come."
According to a report by the Delhi-based RNCOS, which specializes in Industry intelligence and creative solutions for contemporary business segments, India’s share in the global medical tourism industry will reach around 3% by the end of 2013. The December 2010 report -- titled "Booming Medical Tourism in India" – says that the industry should generate revenues of around US$3 billion by 2013. "The Indian medical tourism industry is currently in its early growth stage," says RNCOS chief executive Shushmul Maheshwari.
"India has the highest potential in medical tourism in the world," says Maheshwari of RNCOS. "Factors such as low cost, scale and range of treatments differentiate it from other medical tourism destinations. Moreover, growth in India’s medical tourism market will be a boon for several associated industries, including the hospital industry, the medical equipment industry, and the pharmaceutical industry."His study shows that CAGR (compound annual growth rates) in revenue in 2011-13 will be 26%. In terms of medical tourists, the number would touch 1.3 million by 2013 at a CAGR of 19%. "Medical tourism can be considered one of the rapidly growing industries in the Indian economy on the back of various factors," he says. "India has been ranked among the top five destinations for medical tourism," says Rana Kapoor, founder, managing director and CEO of Yes Bank, which has recently done a study on health and wellness tourism in India along with apex chamber of commerce FICCI.
"I strongly believe that many developments across the world will put India in a fantastic position," says Devi Shetty, cardiac surgeon and chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya. "We produce the largest number of doctors, nurses and medical technicians in the world. Also, we have been traditionally linked with western health care because of the British influence on our medical education and the ability to speak English. This is extremely important for developing [global] health care. Our greatest asset is our ability to produce the largest number of technically-skilled individuals. We also have the largest number of USFDA (U.S. Food and Drugs Administration)-approved drug manufacturing units outside the U.S."
Ref : Wikipedia, Indian knowledge @ Wharton, Medical tourism Journals