Medical Tourism Or Health Tourism In India-Are They Useful?

Medical tourism or health tourism in India-Are they worth?

The term medical tourism is generally used for the practice of getting proper health care abroad at a fraction of the cost prevailing at the country of residence without compromising the quality of medical treatment.The following table illustrates the cost benefits of getting treated in India.

Procedures U.S. Insurer's cost U.S. Retail priceIndia Thailand Singapore
Angioplasty $25,704 - $37,128$57,262 - $82,711 $11,000 $13,000 $13,000
Gastric bypass$27,717 - $40,035 $27,717 - $40,035 $11,00 $15,000 $15,000
Heart bypass $54,741 - $79,071 $122,424 - $176,835 $10,000 $12,000$20,000
Heart-valve replacement $71,401 - $103,136 $159,326 - $230,138 $9500$10500 $13000
Hip replacement $18,281 - $26,407 $43,780 - $63,238$9,500 $10,500 $13,000
Hysterectomy $9,591 - $13,854$20,416 - $29,489 $2,900 $4,500 $8,000
Knee Replacement$17,627 - $25,462 $40,640 - $58,702 $8,500 $10,000 $13,000
Mastectomy $9,774 - $14,118 $23,709 - $34,246 $7,500 $12,000$12,400
Spinal fusion $25,302 - $36,547 $62,778 - $90,679 $5,500$7,000 $9,000

Medical tourism is also known as health tourism,global health care and medical travel.Of late it had gained popularity due to long waiting periods for certain types of health care,the high cost involved,the improvements in the standard and technology of the medical facilities available cheaply abroad and the affordable international travel.

Where to find a medical tourism provider

This has prompted many companies to consider the many cheaper options available for employee medical care. Some of these companies even pay for the air fare and other incentives to encourage their employees to avail cheap health care abroad.

Some of the countries suitable for medical travel are India, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Argentina,Brunei,Cuba,Columbia,Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Korea, Tunisia and NewZealand. All treatments including complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee/hip), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries are available at cheaper rates.Virtually every type of health care,such as psychiatry, alternative treatments, convalescent care are available.

How to know that the foreign medial treatment centers can provide quality treatment?

The quality of medical treatment is assured by the process of accreditation of certain medical institutions abroad if they meet stipulated minimum treatment standards.

Accreditation Canada is the oldest known accreditation body in Canada with powers to accredit hospitals abroad after a thorough inspection of the facilities and their quality.Joint commission international(JCI) is the accreditation body in the United States that takes care of accreditation of medical facilities outside United States.

The accreditation body in the U.K and HongKong is the Trent International Accreditation Scheme which takes the responsibility of evaluating foreign medical facilities for accreditation.All these organizations make sure that the quality of health care is maintained by frequent inspections to monitor the conditions in these facilities so that they meet the required standards.

What are the benefits of medical tourism in India?

The first benefit is that one can get quality health care.These foreign hospitals are staffed by doctors who are US or UK educated and are well qualified.These are chosen medical facilities that have JCI accreditation and so give quality health care to the patients with hospitality,professionalism and safety.

They have modern medical equipments to diagnose and treat patients on par with US hospitals. Besides, the governments of these countries spend billions of dollars on these facilities since medical tourism is a good foreign exchange earner.So hence they have a vested interest in improving the quality of these facilities which benefits the medical tourism.

The second most important advantage is the cost savings which is about 70% of the cost of having the treatment in the US.For instance the cost of surgery in India is ten times less than what it is in US.In India a heart valve transplant costs only $10000 where as in US the cost for the same is $200000.A metal free dental bridge costs $500 in India but the same one costs about $5500 in the US.

The third advantage is that the waiting period is less, compared to western countries.The western medical facilities are stretched beyond their capacity due to the large number of patients, resulting in increased waiting period.This causes delay in treating the patient which may prove to be harmful especially for those who are waiting for a transplant.

The fourth advantage is the travel experience in a new country, which they can not get if they are treated in their resident country.This greatly reduces the stress involved with undergoing any medical treatment making it a pleasant tour instead of a worrisome experience.

What is the procedure for medical tourism in India?

The medical tourism process is as follows.The patient contacts a tourism provider who plans everything such as the choice of the country and the hospital in consultation with the patient.Now the patient is required to fill up forms describing the history of the ailment ,the documents of the treatment taken and the future course of action recommended by the patientís doctor.

Where to find a medical tourism provider

As per the wishes of the patient,the total cost of the trip is calculated taking into account the cost of treatment,choice of hospitals,duration of the stay, the tourist destinations cost and other incidental expenses such as visa and air travel.Then the patient travels to the country of treatment and meets an executive assigned by the tourism provider who takes care of the patient and arranges for the stay,treatment and other requirements of the patient.If the patient wishes he or she may prolong the stay or return home.

What are the disadvantages of medical tourism?

There are a few disadvantages.The patient is exposed to a new environment with infectious diseases for which he or she may be vulnerable due to the lack of natural immunity he or she has unlike the resident population who are not affected.The travel may not agree with the health condition of the patient and may aggravate the situation.Another issue that can happen is that the doctors may prefer to treat foreign patients over the local ones hurting the interests of the locals.

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