Over the last few years, the health and medical tourism in India has grown at a rapid pace making it one of the largest medical tourism centres on a global level. The medical tourism industry in India is growing at 18% CAGR year on year, and by the year 2020, it is projected to be worth $9 billion. Its existing market share in the global medical tourism market stands at nearly 18% which is forecasted to go up to 20% by 2020. [i]
Let’s look at the factors contributing to growing health and wellness tourism in India:
- Low cost of treatment in comparison to first world countries such as the UK and USA. According to Patients Without Borders, estimated cost savings using American healthcare costs as a benchmark range from 40% to 90% depending on the country. For example, in India, patients can save anywhere between 65% to 90% healthcare costs while receiving quality care. In other countries such as South Korea and Singapore, patients can save between 25% and 45% on medical procedures. [ii] To compare, a heart bypass surgery costs around $1,23,000 in the USA, whereas the same surgery costs $7,900 in India. The corresponding figures for knee replacement surgery would be $35,000 in the USA as opposed to $6,600 in India. [iii]
Hip resurfacing, knee replacement, dental implant and heart surgeries among other advanced surgeries are the top medical treatments foreign tourists come. The highest number of patients come from Afghanistan and Bangladesh. While approximately 30%-32% of the patients come from Africa, around 30% come from South Asia and 10% from Europe, Oceania, CIS and the rest of West Asia. [iv]
- Obtaining visas for medical purposes is less restrictive in India as compared to some other countries. Visa rules have also been modified in the past to encourage more tourists to apply, and the results are evident. The number of foreign tourists more than doubled from nearly 2,34,000 in 2015 to 4,95,056 in 2017. [v] In 2022, around 1.5 million medical tourists are expected to visit India. [vi]
- India has an excellent base of highly-trained and skilled doctors who are proficient in the latest medical procedures. It has some of the best-in-class healthcare facilities that attract foreign medical tourists. Being the second-largest English speaking country also works in its favour.
Promising Cities in India for Healthcare
The healthcare sector in India is growing by leaps and bounds due to its strengthening coverage and increasing investments by private and public players. Here are the top 20 cities as per a report by the Institute for Competitiveness offering great growth potential for becoming major healthcare hubs:
- Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh)
- Guwahati (Assam)
- Raipur (Chhattisgarh)
- Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh)
- Patna (Bihar)
- Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh)
- Agra (Uttar Pradesh)
- Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
- Meerut (Uttar Pradesh)
- Asansol (West Bengal)
- Dehradun (Uttarakhand)
- Ranchi (Jharkhand)
- Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)
- Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)
- Amritsar (Punjab)
- Jamshedpur (Jharkhand)
- Dhanbad (Jharkhand)
- Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir)
The Present Healthcare Industry Scenario in India
The healthcare industry is expected to reach $372 billion by the year 2022. India accounts for a major share of the total healthcare market, and the hospital industry is estimated to rise from $6.1 billion in 2017 to $132 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 16% to 17%.
India’s diagnostics industry stands at $4 billion in value with 25% (10% in radiology and 15% in labs) held by organised sector in this segment. Currently, the primary care industry stands at a valuation of $13 billion with negligible share held by the organised sector. [vii]
Tourist Places Offering Best Healthcare in India
India is a leading international medical travel destination drawing patients from all corners of the world. Here’s a list of tourist places with the best hospitals in India that patients can visit when they are sick.
- Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) – Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS)
- Silchar (Assam) – Silchar Medical College and Hospital
- Gaya (Bihar) – A N Magadh Medical College and Hospital
- Bambolim (Goa) – Goa Medical College
- Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) – Indira Gandhi Hospital
- Mysore (Karnataka) – Apollo Hospitals, Kuvempunagar
- Vellore (Tamil Nadu) – Christian Medical College & Hospital
- Shillong (Meghalaya) – Dr H. Gordon Roberts Hospital
- Pondicherry – PIMS Hospital
India’s Best Hospitals for Medical Tourism
The rising prices of healthcare facilities are making an increasing number of international patients take notice of India’s affordable healthcare facilities. From the availability of the finest doctors to using cutting-edge technologies and advanced clinical facilities, India is welcoming more tourists every year looking to save on their healthcare costs. Here are the best hospitals in the country, contributing to medical tourism.
- Fortis La Femme, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Rockland Hospital, BLK Super Specialty Hospital and Primus Super Specialty Hospital in New Delhi
- Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur
- Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Hospitals and Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences in Bangalore
- Global Hospitals, Chennai
What Makes India A Premier Healthcare Destination?
From its skilled workforce to its excellent infrastructure and capability to perform medical treatments with zero waiting time, India has a plethora of advantages that make it a global healthcare destination.
- Facilities, including 22 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals and 275 accredited facilities matching global infrastructure.
- Breakthrough Technologies, including recent advancements like robotic surgeries, advanced neuro, radiation surgeries and more.
- Highly-skilled Doctors, 1.2 million Allopathic doctors, 2 million nurses and 0.17 million dental surgeons. [viii]
- Fast-track treatment, zero waiting time for surgeries like bypass or angioplasty that have a waiting time of 3 to 6 months in certain countries.
As much as the Indian government has been benefiting from healthcare tourism, there is a growing divide between the private sector and public sector of the healthcare industry in India. While the revenue is being directed for the betterment of facilities in urban areas, there is a sharp contrast which can be felt in the public hospitals that cater to a growing rural population. Medical tourism has also somewhere lead to a shortage of healthcare service providers and essential medical equipment in rural areas.
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