Foreign Clients Now Getting the Best Medical Treatments with Medical Tourism Companies in India

So how do you define the best medical tourism company in India? The one understands the needs of the client completely or perhaps anticipates it beforehand. Nowadays, as more and more people across the globe, especially those related to the neighboring countries realize the availability of high quality treatments here, the demand has been increasing. Naturally, this gives rise to the need of a quality facilitator who understands all that is involved and has the right connections to help their clients. What are the main expectations from this kind of coordinating companies?

Effective network with hospital

How is the coordinator going to help you if it doesn’t have the right connections? Here connections mean the best hospitals and high quality medical services, which are ready to offer the best to their patients with complete care.  The better the healthcare networking bigger is the reputation of the service provider. There is no dearth of quality health institutions in India, especially nowadays. Many of the International hospital chains are also opening up their facilities in the country through collaborations with native institutions. Care, quality, and affordability are the things to look for in the network hospitals associated with medical tourism companies in India.

Keeping the patients first

Why are foreigners making a beeline to India these days when it comes to medical care? They expect affordability and complete attention to their well-being. So if a service provider is not offering assistance in this regard they are not the ones you’re looking for. Of course, every company wants to make profit but it shouldn’t be the guiding principle. Patients require sympathy, immediate attention, and help in various aspects. Now, a healthcare facilitator ready to offer such facilities without taking and you advantage of the clients is the one to choose. Naturally, the better the services available the better will be the reputation and more will be their client base.

Assistance at all levels

It is important to remember that when someone is coming to India from another country he or she do not know anything about the working of this land. Adding to their woes is the fact that they are not 100% fit and requires medical intervention as quickly as possible. Naturally, they require guidance from the very first event before they actually land. Quality service providers understand this very well and customize their services in keeping with the specific needs of their clients. They offer transportation facilities and prepare everything through effective coordination with the hospital so that the patient can reach their appointed doctor fast. In order to ensure this the facilitators have to do their homework regarding the patient and communicate the same to relevant doctors. Where will the client and family stay? Do they have any additional program besides the immediate one relating to the treatment?

Whatever it is, foreigners can completely depend upon medical tourism service providers in India to ensure their well-being. This way they do not feel alone or out of place even when away from home.

World-Class Medical Treatment in India

While ever increasing health care expenses and eventually decreasing medical standards have become an issue of concern for world over and people are finding themselves constrained to make compromises to their personal health. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel… A country with a solution. India is providing patients from across the globe with a complete solution – the destination for their all healthcare requirements in form of Medical Tourism in India. Talking about Medical Treatment, India has the most competent doctors and world class medical facilities, that is the reason that Medical Tourism in India is booming; pushing other nations down the list. The major reasons that have enabled India to dominate this growing market are

  1. The low cost of medical treatment in India
  2. The quality treatment provided by hospitals and private clinics
  3. The highly developed tourism industry.

What more can a medical traveler ask for, quality treatment yet at a very affordable cost. These factors have led to significant growth in numbers of foreign patients visiting India for their various medical problems.  Treatment in India is a package which provides great cost saving benefits besides world-class facilities.

There are unending advantages for patients going to India for treatment. Some of the advantages of going to India for medical treatment are:

  1. Hospitals and other medical centers are internationally accredited and use latest technologies to minimize errors and patient hassles.
  2. Highly qualified and reputed Physicians/Surgeons with experience and track record to treat patients ensuring good treatment outcomes
  3. Cost savings are immense. Compared to patients own country medical treatment costs in India are lower by at least 60-80%.
  4. There is no waiting list for the patients.
  5. Patient gets options for private room, translator, private chef, dedicated staff during your stay and many other tailor-made services

Another reason why treatment in India is on high demand is due to availability of medically advanced hospitals and internationally trained experts. India has got worldwide recognition, and has created its own identity in the field of medical treatment and surgery. Some of the popular treatments in India that are available – Orthopedics, Cardiology, Cosmetic Surgery, Dentistry, Oncology, Neurosurgery, Bariatric/Obesity Surgery, Spine Surgery, General and Endoscopy Surgery, Cancer management, Ophthalmology, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), Urology Surgery in India and Preventive Health Care.

For those patients who want alternative therapies for their healing have the options for the therapies like Ayurveda, yoga and spa which have many patients in getting treated or at least improve their condition in case of serious ailment  . India has another gift from its ancestors to offer to the world – The Ayurveda – Ayurveda is both therapeutic as well as rejuvenate; it promotes positive health, natural beauty and longevity. It has remedies for common ailments as well as serious health problems.

Benefit from the Best Surgeries with the Leading Medical Tourism Service Providers in India

Surgeries can be of numerous types and most of these are quite expensive especially when one compares the costs in India with that of its neighboring countries. Top-of-the-line surgical solutions are available here that too with reasonable associated costs. Now, the healthcare facilitation company in India is bringing this close to people across the globe. So what kind of surgical procedures can you undergo in this country? All available types of course but still some of these are more popular to others especially because of the high associated costs elsewhere. These are,

Cosmetic surgery

This may involve highly complex or extremely simple procedures based upon the type of cosmetic surgery the client requires. The popular ones are Botox treatment for reduction of forehead creases, frown lines, thick neckbands, and crow’s feet. Procedure involves nonsurgical injection that temporarily paralyses in the desired muscles. Medical treatment in India for foreigners may also involve breast augmentation techniques that enhances the shape and size or offers post-pregnancy size corrections. This may also work as reconstructive technique following any breast surgery.

Cosmetic surgical procedures also involve mastopexy or breast lifting that restores the original firmness and shape of the breast lost through age, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and other factors. A mostly outpatient procedure it occurs through general anesthesia. Brow lifting is quite popular too raising the eyebrows bringing it to an aesthetic position as desired by the patients. This kind of surgery also helps soften horizontal wrinkles on your forehead as well as scowl line present between eyebrows. Chemical peels help to restore the soft young and supple skin doing away with the damages caused by elements, pollution, and the age factor.

Cosmetic surgery is the most sought after treatment the world over and now the patient can get the very best right here in India at fraction of the costs!

General surgery

Like all kinds of surgery, these can be completely simple or highly complex, critical, or time-consuming. Whatever may be your procedural requirement you can go under the scalpel with the best doctors in the country to oversee your case. One of the commonest interventions is the appendicitis, which in many cases is required on an emergency basis. The surgeons undertake appendectomy for the removal of this inflamed pouch related to your stomach. Similarly, foreign clients and undergo gastrectomy operations for treating non-cancerous polyps, stomach cancer, or gastric ulcer, which is bleeding.

Cholecystectomy procedure is related to the gallbladder, which is the pear-shaped small sac present below the liver. This kind of surgical treatment in India is also much sought after, which involves surgical removal of this body organ in case of various disorders like the presence of gallstones. Besides this, those who want may undergo numerous other kinds of operations related to spleen, hernia, thyroid gland removal, and more. The important thing is to plan everything early on and in case of emergency contact a service provider with good understanding of how things happen in India and having a strong network in place.

A Paradigm Shift

DESPITE THE SLOWDOWN THAT THE TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY IS FACING CURRENTLY, IT IS PROJECTED AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST INDUSTRIES. SHEETAL SRIVASTAVA GIVES AN OVERVIEW

By the year 2020, projection is that there would be six billion tourists worldwide and tourism receipts would touch USD 2 trillion creating one job every 2.5 seconds. The Indian Government’s travel and tourism policy has given the sector further impetus. One can see many more hotels, tourist resorts, beach resorts, as well as promotion of new avenues of tourism like medical tourism, adventure tourism, rural tourism, holistic tourism, sports tourism and cultural tourism.

Commenting on the notable differences in the industry from what it was a decade back, Shubhada Joshi, chairperson, Indian Travel Congress, London says, “There are lot many products and destinations to sell.” She further adds, “Today, with open sky policies and the roads and railways getting better, there are more opportunities for people to travel. Affluence is growing and hence the spending capabilities of customers are also growing. Such situations are very rare in the history of any industry and therefore it is the best time to be in the industry.”

Talking about the industry numbers, Sanjay Narula, co-chairman, Indian Travel Congress, London notes, “Travel and Tourism, directly and indirectly accounts for 11 per cent of world’s GDP, 9 per cent of global employment and 12 per cent of global investments.”

Today, India is an emerging world power. If the world really wants to know what India has achieved in the last few years, the travel and tourism industry is the answer to that. “India being multi-cultural, there is a never ending scope in the industry. Domestic travel has been growing at 15-20 per cent p.a. Innovative sales pitches, marketing strategies and adoption of newer technologies are leading to increased sales within travel retail services especially for packaged holidays, flights and accommodation , all of which is giving us a newer global market perspective,” says Rajinder Rai, vice president, TAAI.

Challenges Faced

CV Prasad, President, TAAI says, “Very little has been done to grow domestic tourism. Lack of infrastructure is the gravest issue posing a challenge to Indian tourism and acts as a deterrent.” Domestic short haul problem is very popular. Lack of quality manpower is another serious challenge which the industry is currently facing. “There is not enough skilled manpower. The need for training institutes is a must,” Prasad stresses. Other areas where improvement is a must in order to give a boost to tourism is the need for improved roads between some tourist destinations. “There is no proper road transport quality. People above 60 travel a lot. Unfortunately, India is not equipped for them. There are no proper sidewalks,” adds Prasad. India is not positioned in many ways as far as tourism is concerned.”

Here comes the travel agent

There is no doubt that a travel agent has become an essential factor in the travel and tourism industry today. We all know that a travel agent helps travelers sort through vast amounts of information to help them make the best possible travel arrangements. They offer advice on destinations and make arrangements for transportation, hotel accommodations, car rentals, and tours for their clients. They are also the primary source of bookings for most of the major cruise lines. In addition, resorts and specialty travel groups use travel agents to promote travel packages to their clients.

Going to a full-service travel agency that sells standard travel agency goods and services, including airfare and travel packages is like a one-stop shop to the travel needs. Most travel agents provide additional services which include passport assistance, providing access to top-of-the-line equipment and supplies and a superior offering that includes access to better than average terrain and activities, accommodations, and entertainment. “The value added offerings by a travel agent is his knowledge and expertise, competitive rates, and specialty focus on various segments of travel, which translate into increased satisfaction for the customer,” adds Prasad. “Destination knowledge is a very critical aspect. The most important role that travel agents play is planning the trip. Very few people today have mastery over destinations. So a travel today has become a destination expert,” notes Shubhada. Leisure travelers can be broadly classified according to the type of trips they take, income or age. Heritage and Culture tourism, Adventure tourism, Special-Interest, Honeymoon & sight-seeing trips High-Income Travellers Budget-Conscious Travellers Families, Students & Seniors Pilgrimage Tourism, Medical and Wellness Tourism

Need for trained personnel

Like every other industry, there is a need of skilled personnel in this industry too. Besides the IATA certificate which is only academic, the personnel need a lot of soft skill training. Clients today need a host of services and not just an air ticket. It may be product knowledge, visa, insurance or foreign exchange or about a self driven car or only the weather.

“Our job is not complete unless and until we don’t give all the information to the clients. A client can get to buy an air ticket on the net. But it is still cumbersome for him/her to get all the related information. Hence, we need to be travel consultants and not just ticketing agents,” asserts Mamta Nichani, chairman, managing committee member, TAAI.

It has become imperative today to change the mindset in order to forge successful careers in the travel and tourism industry. Hitherto, the travel distribution role was performed by traditional travel agents and tour operators. They were supported by global distribution systems or tour operators’ videotext systems (or leisure travel networks). The coming of the Internet created the conditions for the emergence of interactive digital televisions and mobile devices selling directly on the Internet by allowing users to access the airline reservation systems, web-based travel agents and travel portals. This has gradually intensified competition. Consequently, traditional travel agents must re-engineer their business processes in order to survive and remain competitive. Research findings point out to the evolving nature of business in a globalised environment and the necessary strategic adjustments in human resources management.

Future of the industry

Expressing his views on the future of the travel and tourism industry and of the travel agents Prasad says, “The future is very bright. A 15-20 per cent growth can be seen in the next 5-6 years. Tourism revolution has yet to begin in India. Interest in India is beginning to catch up and it certainly has a long way to go.”

He further adds, “The internet can never replace personal contact. Travel agents are here to stay provided they adapt to the changing environment, adopt emerging technology and understand customers as well as cater to their needs.”

Says Ashwani Kakkar, CEO, Mercury Travels, “Globally, the travel and tourism industry is the single largest industry in the world. It is the best wealth distributor as an industry.”

The list is endless, for you can find many a reason and more to travel. All of these have a specific need and require knowledge of the local customs and people besides information on the destination which can be attained in a limited way from the internet. The Travel agents fulfil this very need and create not just a holiday or a trip but an experience to remember.

World flies to India for cheap cure

Travelling far and wide for health care that is often better and certainly cheaper than at home, appeals to patients with complaints ranging from heart ailments to knee pain. Why is India leading in the globalisation of medical services? Q&A with Harvard Business School’s Tarun Khanna

What used to be rare is now commonplace: travelling abroad to receive medical treatment, and to a developing country at that. So-called medical tourism is on the rise for everything from cardiac care to plastic surgery to hip and knee replacements. As a recent Harvard Business School case study describes, the globalization of health care also provides a fascinating angle on globalization generally and is of great interest to corporate strategists.

“Apollo Hospitals-First-World Health Care at Emerging-Market Prices” explores how Prathap C Reddy, a cardiologist, opened India’s first forprofit hospital in Chennai in 1983. Today the Apollo Hospitals Group manages more than 30 hospitals and treats patients from many different countries, according to the case. Tarun Khanna, a Harvard Business School professor specializing in global strategy, co-authored the case with professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Carin-Isabel Knoop, executive director of the HBS Global Research Group. The medical services industry hasn’t been global historically but is becoming so now, says Khanna. There are several reasons that globalization can manifest itself in this industry:

Patients with resources can easily go where care is provided.

High quality care, state-ofthe-art facilities, and skilled doctors are available in many parts of the world, including in developing countries.

Auxiliary health-care providers such as nurses go where care is needed. Filipino nurses provide an example.

“From a strategic point of view you can move the output or the input,” explains Khanna. “Applying this idea to human health care sounds a bit crude, but the output is the patient, the input is the doctor. We used to move the input around, and make doctors go to new locations outside their country of origin. But in many instances it might be more efficient to move the patients to where the doctors are as long as we are not compromising the health care of the patients.”

Khanna recently sat down with HBS Working Knowledge to discuss the globalization of health care in the context of India and Apollo Hospitals.

Q: What led you to research and write this case?

A: I came across the company during some of my travels in South India. It was so unusual to find “first-world health care at emerging-market prices” as the case says. Often better care—by which I mean technologically first-rate care with far greater “customer service” and accessibility—is available in parts of India than in my neighborhood in Boston.

Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Carin-Isabel Knoop, and I decided to write the case just because health care is such a primal thing—it arouses a lot of emotions and insecurities. After all, it’s one’s life and health that one is dealing with. And the prospect of entrusting health care to a developing country had a pedagogical “shock value,” too.

The fact that the cost of living is so much lower in India means that the same service is possible at a fraction of the price elsewhere.

Q: The term “medical tourism” is fairly new, but how new is the phenomenon of going overseas for medical treatment?

A: When I was a college student in the United States I discovered that dental care was very expensive. Even back then, many of my international classmates essentially engaged in medical tourism—they would simply bundle up the care they needed, make a trip to their country of origin, and take care of it. India was certainly one of those countries I was aware of due to my own personal background.

We didn’t have a term for medical tourism, but in a sense it was all around us. It took a set of entrepreneurs to begin to make it happen. By the late 1990s, when I was teaching courses in global strategy, some of my Thai, Malaysian, and Singaporean students were perfectly aware of the term, because these countries of Southeast Asia already had very good tertiary-care hospitals.

Medical tourism usually refers to the idea of middleclass or wealthy individuals going abroad in search of effective, low-cost treatment. But there is another dimension of medical tourism that is not called medical tourism. Narayana Hrudayalaya, a heart hospital in India, treats indigent people from neighbouring countries — Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma—who suffer from heart disease and can’t afford surgery. Treatment for them is free. The hospital is able to provide it because surgical methods are efficient enough that pro bono care doesn’t hurt the bottom line.

Q: Why is India gaining prominence for medical tourism?

A: India is encouragingly less “scary” now. I think a lot of entrusting medical care to different locations is about a psychological fear of the unknown. An important strategic challenge for developing-country hospitals is to reduce the psychological fear.

In India, the same depth of pool of engineering and mathematical talent for software, offshoring, and outsourcing is there for medicine, too. In the 1950s and ‘60s, the Indian government invested a lot in tertiary education. By now there is at least a small handful of medical institutes that are really first-rate, and the doctors they produce are extremely well trained.

Q: What are the recruiting challenges for staffing these hospitals with doctors?

A: In the case, Prathap C Reddy, the founder and chairman of Apollo Hospitals, says he spent a lot of time studying specialists almost like an executive search firm would, to identify their pleasure points and pain points in terms of building a successful practice in the West and potentially in India. He wanted to understand not just medical training and specialties but also family circumstances, since it is always a family decision to relocate.

In the past, Indian doctors left India so they could multiply their incomes. But now we’re seeing the reversal of that. India is booming so why leave, and by the way, patients can go there.

Q: How does growth in private hospitals affect public health care in India?

A: There is an assumption in the view often expressed in the media in India and Europe, for instance, that when private hospitals in India provide care to heart patients from England, the hospitals are somehow taking care away from poor people in India. The assumption seems to be that if medical tourism was banned, the doctors in question who were catering to wealthy patients would suddenly, as a practical matter, move to a village. It takes a different set of individuals, a different set of infrastructure circumstances to create that scenario.

My guess is that the bulk of India’s problem is primary health, and has nothing to do with tertiary care. And the primary health problem is not going to be addressed by a private hospital for the most part anyway.

Healing Touch

Medical Tourism Could Address India’s Health Crisis

A foreign resident needing surgical treatment is put into an international flight to India. As soon as he arrives, he is driven straight to a super-speciality hospital where he is immediately attended to by world-class doctors aware of the patient’s medical history. This trend, known as medical tourism, is already in evidence, albeit on a minuscule scale. For this to become a commonplace in a matter of a few years, medical entrepreneurs, associations of medical professionals, insurance companies, third party administrators (TPAs) and the government need to make a cogent intervention.

Like the information technology (IT) industry, India has a comparative advantage in services like healthcare. The cost differentials in healthcare between developed nations and India are reckoned to be even higher than in the IT industry. But cost is only one of the drivers. Sophisticated medical facilities in India can draw people from the neighbouring countries. In the past, trade in services implied healthcare personnel migrating to developed countries. Now, the situation has reversed, with consumers moving abroad temporarily. If this emerging potential is harnessed it could shower unprecedented economic gains on the medical community and at least a section of our society, in effect replicating the IT success story.

However, while aspiring to become a world-class supplier of healthcare services, India cannot wish away its ailing masses who lie unattended for want of decent healthcare. Indeed, the current healthcare situation in India is dismal. The number of hospital beds per 1,000 population, for example, is around one, which is well below the WHO prescribed norms, or even the low-income countries’ average of 1.5. The same shortage extends to the availability of medical and paramedical staff — this, despite India’s high disease burden. India, for example, loses 274 disability adjusted life years (DALYs) — an indicator of disease burden that reflects the total amount of healthy lives lost, to all causes — per 1,000 population compared to the developing countries’ average of 256.

No wonder India trails in healthcare outcomes. For example, life expectancy at birth in India is 63 years, compared to the developing countries’ average of 65. Likewise, infant mortality rate in India is 70 compared to the developing countries’ average of 56. A similar picture emerges in other standard indicators of health outcome. The reasons are not difficult to understand. Indian government (at all levels) spends less than 1% of GDP in as important a social sector as healthcare. Besides being highly inadequate compared to other developing countries, this limited public spending is not for the lowincome people only, as one would expect. The richer segments too benefit from it.

Furthermore, most of private spending, as much as 4.3% of GDP takes the form of out-of-pocket spending and not prepaid risk pooling arrangements, and this is highly iniquitous. Notwithstanding the insurance regulator’s announcement to grant concessions to any standalone health insurer interested in entering Indian market, the development of private health insurance has not been very inspiring.

Given all this, does it make sense to promote medical tourism? To be sure, the development of medical tourism will alter India’s healthcare landscape. While it will give a boost to the private healthcare industry by catering to wealthy foreign and domestic consumers, it could adversely hit the low-income population. Medical personnel and infrastructure would be geared to serve the elite. Medical tourists will end up driving up healthcare costs. However, the adverse effect can be mitigated through

appropriate interventions, that include greater public outlay for healthcare as well as restructuring public healthcare infrastructure, especially in rural areas. The increase in public financing of healthcare is not forthcoming, given the fiscal pressure.

It is here that promotion of medical tourism can prove to be a blessing. A part of the higher private healthcare revenue can be tapped to increase public health spending. Besides, promotion of medical tourism would have positive spillover effects. Some of these are: Benchmarking and streamlining healthcare delivery (this includes the development of treatment protocols, standardisation of costing of various procedures, accreditation of hospitals and so forth); checking brain drain from India; increasing employment opportunities; and concomitant expansion of the aviation sector.

The promotion of medical tourism requires a multi-track approach. In the international arena, it requires providing an impetus to trade liberalisation in this sector within the multilateral (or General Agreement on Trade in Services) framework, seeking harmonisation of health standards, facilitating cross-border mobility of consumers and promoting health services trade with neighbouring countries. Progress on these fronts is bound to attract greater FDI into this sector. On the domestic front, this calls for enhancing coordination between states to develop uniform regulation of healthcare, which is essentially a state subject.

The very nature of these interventions enjoins upon the government to play a pivotal role in the promotion of medical tourism, at least in the initial stages of its development. The logic of investment and profit-making in healthcare, which is no different from any other sector, will ensure a repeat of IT in healthcare, which can be made to work for the betterment of all — foreign and domestic residents alike.