India Emerging As A Global Healthcare Destination
By Christine Macguire
Health is vital for ethical, artistic, material and spiritual development of man. It is very certain that of all the gains, the gains of health are the highest and the best. Traveling abroad for treatment has been an age-old practice. In ancient Greece, pilgrims and patients came from all over the Mediterranean to the sanctuary of the healing god, Asklepios, at Epidaurus. There were spiritual values attached to traveling for getting cured in ancient times that only a few of the privileged lot could afford. With the passage of time and the ease of traveling, people have started traveling offshore in search of faster, cheaper and safer surgical procedures.
Relatively new to the oriental part of the globe, medical tourism has been an age old phenomena in the West and has been supported by highly-developed indigenous health care systems and constant improvements in technology. By upgrading the technology, gaining greater familiarity with latest medical protocols and improving the image in terms of quality and cost, the health-care industry in countries like India and Thailand are attracting a global clientele to emerge as a top medical-tourism destinations.
In a country as diverse as India, the health care industry has capitalized on its rich cultural resource and glorious past. In sharp contrast to the generally impoverished economical background, there are private health care centers that offer sophisticated medical services, comparable to and at times even better than those offered by developed countries. A recent market study forecasts a growth from US$ 18.7 billion to around US$ 45 billion - equivalent to 8.5 per cent of GDP by 2012. India has emerged as the leading country promoting medical tourism.
India's health care industry along with its IT and tourism sector has helped it move into the economic renaissance. It is poised to become a major driver of economic growth as first-world patients, driven out of their own systems by high costs and crowded conditions, look for cheaper places for medical care. The Government of India provides Tourist Visa of short duration and a special Medical Tourism Visa (M) of longer duration (up to 1 year) for persons. Patients are also provided Visa (MX) for their accompanying spouse coming to India for Medical Treatment. New terms such as such as health tourism, health care outsourcing and medical back office support have gained good popularity in the nation.
Medical tourism in India is a business that has been estimated to be worth $2 billion by 2012. What has been termed as "International Patient Care" is already gaining pace in the nation. Private health care units are constantly improvising their health infrastructure and attracting a regular stream of international patients by appending alluring benefits to their package. This seems quite reasonable given the rising costs of treatment in western countries along with increasing demands of an ageing population. Costs of advanced surgeries in India are 10-15 times lower than anywhere in the world that attracts patients from abroad to avail a host of arrangements at an easily affordable rate. A typical package includes air travel, local transportation, translation services, air-conditioned five-star accommodation for the patient and also for accompanying spouse or relative in many cases, together with their personalized choice of global cuisine.
From less than 10,000 patients visiting India for medical treatment five years ago, the market of medical tourism in India has taken a great leap in recent years. It is now worth US$ 333 million, with about 100,000 foreign patients coming in every year. India is well positioned to tap the top end of the global healthcare industry because of the facilities and services it offers and by leveraging the brand equity of Indian healthcare professionals across the globe. "A global healthcare destination" is what even the government is planning to brand the nation and is making economic policies in that direction.
About the Author
Christine is an expert Internet market professional with years of experience in various industries such as: Business, Finance, Real Estate, Web-Design, Health & Medicine and many more.
Health Care Tourism
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