MEDICAL TOURISM IN INDIA - A DOCTOR'S ANALYSIS

 

 

 

This website has been created, designed, hosted and personally maintained by Dr Arun Prasad, MS, FRCS, FRCSEd, trained in India and UK, now a Senior Consultant Surgeon at Apollo Hospital (Accredited by JCI – USA), New Delhi, India.

 

In contrast to most other sites, this site is made by a medical professional who is a web designing amateur and not by a web designing professional who is a medical amateur !!

 

Definition    Steps    Warning    Which Treatment    Why India    Why Cheap    Cost Examples    Quality Control    Need more information ?About Apollo Hospital        Home Page    About Dr Arun Prasad       

 

 

What is medical tourism?

 

Medical tourism is a phenomenon of people traveling to other countries to obtain medical, dental, and surgical care while at the same time touring, vacationing, and fully experiencing the attractions of the countries that they are visiting. Exorbitant costs of healthcare in industrialized nations, ease and affordability of international travel, favorable currency exchange rates in the global economy, rapidly improving technology and standards of care in many countries of the world, and most importantly proven safety of healthcare in select foreign nations have all led to the rise of medical tourism. More and more people are traveling abroad as an affordable, enjoyable, and safe alternative to having medical, dental, and surgical procedures done in their home countries.

 

 

What are the steps of seeking treatment with medical tourism ?

 

1)    Is your medical ailment suitable for treatment in a country different from yours ? The answer to this question will be based on combined information from your own doctor and the overseas doctor.

a)    Ailments that require a one shot treatment like surgery for gall stones, hernia, piles, varicose veins, hysterectomy, adrenalectomy, nephrectomy, thyroidectomy, joint replacement etc are more suitable for medical tourism.

b)    The ailment should be such that a follow up should not be necessary and you should not need to visit the country again to ‘ tie up loose ends ‘.

c)     You should be otherwise well enough to be able to utilize the tourism part of it. Other wise you could just go to the hospital directly for treatment.

d)    Mostly planned elective surgery for which there may be a long waiting list in your country is best suited for medical tourism.

 

2)    Decide on the country, hospital and doctor who would be treating you. This information would be available to you on the net or from recommendation by another patient. Please visit the website of the hospital and doctor. Write to them asking about their training and experience in the procedure. Do not feel shy in asking this and also of the cost implications.

3)    Send a detailed note of your medical condition. You don’t want to be stuck later in a situation where the doctor says, ‘ You did not tell me this, so the surgery cannot be done now.’ Include all reports of investigations and recommendations of any doctor who has seen you.

4)    Based on this, you will receive full information from specialist doctors / medical consultants advice on your medical treatment, approximate cost for planning purposes and total duration of your stay required at the hospital with pre -operative and post operative extra stay requirement etc.

5)    Also check full details about cost of your stay at respective treatment city using a hotel or service apartment or guest house.

6)    Check with the doctor what all sight seeing / shopping / tourism is possible with the treatment you are having and if this would be before or after the treatment. Best time for this is after getting the preliminary check and tests done. Following the sight seeing etc, you get admitted for the surgery.

7)    Acquire consent of your local physician to fly down to India.

8)    Acquire visa for travel to the host country.

9)    Check immunization requirements for going there.

10)           Carry a travel insurance with you.

11)           Fix up date of arrival, pick up from airport. It is extremely re- assuring if a person from the hospital receives you at the airport and takes you to the hospital / hotel.

12)           Meet the doctor and re-discuss the details of treatment, cost, stay etc.

13)           Re-confirm your return ticket as per his/ her advice.

14)           Treatment

15)           Discharge from hospital, with follow up advice and medications provided by the hospital.

16)           Stay in the city / sight seeing as discussed earlier for the required time.

17)           Review with the doctor for clearance

18)           Return Home.

 

 

Important Tip : It may be better if you get a split up of all the costs involved. The travel costs from airport to hospital, hotel charges ( you can choose a cheap or 5star hotel as per your desire rather than go by the agencies choice ). The cost of staying for a few extra days in the hospital incase you choose to do so rather than go to a hotel. Choices and options should be left open. An estimate of total cost from entry to exit at the hospital should be obtained so that you don’t get unexpected extra bills that might have been ‘overlooked’ in the planning stage.

 

WARNING 

Treatment suitable for overseas patients (click on specific condition to obtain more information) :

 

 

In addition to above, there are many other general surgical, thoracoscopic and laparoscopic procedures being done. Please click here email your specific querry.

 

Also, the hospital offers modern treatment in all specialities. Click here to email for enquiry about any other ailment.

 

WHY INDIA OF ALL PLACES ?

 

India will soon become THE global health destination. It is replicating the Thai model, which has been the first Asian destination for International Patients. India benefits from a large staff of world class experts and the ultra-competitive cost advantage it offers.

 

With prices at a fraction (less than 10% for example in the treatment of gall stone $600 US ) of those in the US or EU, the concept has broad consumer appeal. Indian private facilities offer advanced technology and high-quality treatment at par with hospitals in western countries.

 

India is promoting "medical outsourcing" where subcontractors aim to provide services to the overburdened medical care systems in western countries. Medical tourism to India is growing by 20% a year. Most non-urgent Western patients usually get a package deal that includes flights, transfers, hotels, treatment and often a post-operative vacation. There are many brokers specialized on the Indian market.

 

I would personally recommend that you get an independent break up on the costs and decide for yourself what you want and what you don’t want. For example one patient may want an air conditioned taxi which is far more expensive than a coach while traveling to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Similarly the hospitals too have deluxe rooms and economy wards costing differently ( a gall bladder surgery would cost $1200 and $600 respectively ).

 

Why is this so cheap ?

 

It is not cheap. It is relatively cheap because that is the way the international economy runs. Going by the “McDonald index”, in India you get a burger for 40 cents at McDonalds. The income and salaries of individuals are also proportionately lower. So a gall bladder operation by laparoscopy may seem only $600 to someone in the US, it is 4 months salary of a receptionist working at my hospital.

 

Due to the current favorable Rupee/Dollar/Pound/Euro exchange rate foreign clients can take advantage of the weak Rupee and expect savings of up to 75% over the same treatment in their own countries, with no compromise on quality.

 

For the average Indian, Private medical care is very expensive, but for those visitors with Sterling, Euros or Dollars it is a bargain price considering what you would pay back home for an elective procedure with a top specialist with no long waiting list.

 

How does the host country benefit?

 

The money coming in is like tourism industry. This has been officially acknowledged by the Indian government.

 

 

FEW EXAMPLES OF COSTS IN INDIA ( all cost in US $ )

 

 

Taxi fare from airport to hospital

Non A/C $10

A/C $30

Registration and consultation with senior consultant at hospital

$25

 

X ray of chest

$4

 

Whole abdomen ultrasound

$15

 

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy for Gall Bladder Stones

Economy Ward $800 (Total Cost)

Single Room $1500 (Total Cost)

Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy for Hyperhidrosis

Economy Ward $2500 (Total Cost)

Single Room $4000 (Total Cost)

Stay at nearby hotel

Economy class $50/ day

4 star $150, 5 star $250

Big Mac Meal combo at Mc Donald

$2

 

Tour of Delhi

$ 50 by coach

$ 150 by personal car

Tour to Agra ( 125 miles from Delhi)

$ 150 same day return

$ 250 with overnight stay at 5 star hotel

 

 

What about the quality of care and competence of the doctors ?

 

Americans and British are already familiar with highly skilled Indian doctors at their local hospital down the street. What they may not know is that many of these doctors are heading back to India as the living and working conditions here for doctors have changed in the last 15 years or so since liberalization of the economy.


India, with its extensive labor pool and extremely educated population is an excellent destination for world-class medical treatment. Having had a long association with Great Britain, the English language is prevalent throughout the country.

 

Two key drawbacks to India, which both the public and private sector are working feverishly to change, are 1) foreigners are required to obtain a visa to enter the country; and 2) many areas outside of the major cities may be unsettling to American visitors who are not accustomed to seeing large scale poverty. This being said, both the hospitals and hotels are totally safe, modern, clean, and have world-class facilities.

 

During the past few years, many of the top private hospitals in India have build brand new, ultra modern facilities and invested in the latest medical technology in order to lure international patients from around the world. The vast majority of these hospitals are in the process of applying for JCAHO Accreditation as well.

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The author of this article Dr Arun Prasad, MS, FRCS, FRCSEd is one such doctor who has returned from the UK after obtaining surgical qualifications and licences to practice General, Gastro-intestinal and Minimal Access ( Laparoscopic ) Surgery.

 

He is currently at Apollo Hospital, New Delhi which is the only hospital in India that has been accredited by JCI ( Joint Commission International of USA – the international version of JCAHO)

 

 

Click her to know more about Dr Arun Prasad.

 

Thank you for visiting this page that has been made by someone who is a medical professional but a computer amateur !!

 

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