Medical Tourism in India – Unveiling Top Factors and Scenarios

The first recorded instance of people travelling for medical treatment dates back thousands of years to when Greek pilgrims travelled from the eastern Mediterranean to a small area in the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria. This territory was the sanctuary of the healing god Asclepios. Spa towns and sanitaria were early forms of medical tourism.

medical tourism in India
Medical Tourism

Medical tourism refers to people travelling abroad from their home country to obtain medical treatment. A while back, this usually referred to the tourist travel from developing countries to highly developed countries for quality healthcare. However, in recent times it equally refers to developed countries who travel to developing countries for lower-cost medical treatment.

Health tourism is a wider term for travel that focuses on medical treatment and the use of healthcare services, and preventive health and wellness tourism.

Factors that have led to the increasing popularity of medical travel include:

  1. High cost of healthcare in the home country
  2. Long wait time for a certain procedure
  3. Affordable and easy international travel
  4. Improvement in technology and standards of healthcare in developing countries
  5. Getting Visas for medical purposes is much easier than ever

Medical Tourism Scenario in India:

Medical tourism is a growing sector in India. Our country is becoming 2nd best medical tourism destination after Thailand. Delhi NCR from the north and Chennai from the southern part are India’s largest medical tourism destinations. High specialities and branded hospitals located in these two cities help them to extend so many medical tourists every year (>65% of medical tourists in India).

medical tourism trend in India
Medical Tourism Trend in India
medial health tourism ratios by region, country and speciality
Health Tourism in Different Countries

Currently, the medical tourism industry in India is $ 8-10 bn in size. In the year 2019, the Indian government made it easier for foreigners to receive medical treatment without necessarily applying for a medical visa. According to McKinsey, medical tourists in India could increase 4.5x to 3mn over 2018-2030. The affordable and quality treatment makes India a favoured destination. The treatment cost of key ailments in India is 1/5th or 1/10th of the Western countries.

medical tourism for major medical treatments
Major Medical Treatments

India’s increasing medical tourism demand is emerging from part of the Middle East, Bangladesh and Africa. As a country we compete with Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, which are also emerging as popular medical tourism destinations.

In the United States, the accreditation group Joint Commission International (JCI) was formed in 1994 to certify a level of quality for healthcare providers to enable themselves to treat international patients. JCI mainly develop nationally and internationally recognized procedures and standards to help improve the care and safety of patients. India has over 43+ JCI accredited hospitals which help to promote medical tourism.

CountryJCI Accredited Hospitals
Hong Kong12
JCI Accredited Hospitals in Different Countries

Over the past few decades, India has been advancing in medicine by leaps and bounds. Its path-breaking innovations on the medical frontier are coupled with excellently skilled medical staffing and relatively reasonable pricing.

India provides an opportunity for medical tourists to visit some of the most alluring and awe-inspiring places by taking them on a medical tourist trip. Post-retreatment recovery is provided to patients through therapies like Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Yoga. These factors have made India the best destination for medical tourism in the world.

India – Best Destination for Medical Tourism in World

In the end, getting medical treatment from a place that offers you the best quality medication and leaves your pockets jingling is a wiser choice to make.

Read more on India – Haven in the Unfolding Crisis Globally

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