10 Things You Must Know About Medical Tourism In India

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The 21st century has made healthcare services and premiere technology much more accessible to many developing countries. For example, India gets on an average 2 hundred thousand international medical tourists annually, the main source being the developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. This is primarily occurring at the 27 big hospitals in 5 main cities across India. There are another 70 hospitals in the process of attaining accreditation from the National Accreditation Board (NAB).

Medical tourism in India is growing on such a huge scale that it is projected to touch around $7-$8 billion by 2020. According to the Medical Tourism Market Report (MTMR), India provides one of the lowest cost and highest qualities of care in the world. This is one of the best returns one can get for their money in the medical tourism industry. Procedures in India cost about 1/10th of what they do in the US. The reasonable cost and quality of care drives people to places such as India in order to get life-altering or life-saving treatments, procedures, or surgeries performed. Many people can get treatment in India that could otherwise not afford it in their home country. Here are the 6 major factors which make India an ideal medical tourism spot:


1) LOWER COST TREATMENTS:
People can generally expect to save at least 50% when receiving care in India as compared to that in other countries like the US or UK. This includes all the travel expenses like airfares, hotel, and food during one’s stay. Some treatments can be provided for little as 10% of the cost that it would be available for in the West. Care in India is of a supreme quality, and is the same as the care that would be received in a Western nation. The vast savings of receiving treatment in countries like India can provide the patient life-altering or life-saving treatment that may not otherwise be afforded.

2) GETTING [MEDICAL] VISAS IS EASY:
The introduction of the relatively new “M” visa in India makes getting visas for medical purposes much easier than ever. Visas are given out in a rather short period of time, and the waiting period for most life-altering or life-saving procedures are almost non-existent. Priority is given to the patients with the most life-threatening conditions. These are patients that need help on priority in order to avoid more medical complications, permanent disabilities, or sometimes even death.

Those who will have the hardest times obtaining visas will be those from underdeveloped or developing countries such as Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, or Pakistan. The government of India has achieved this visa expedition program that ensures that people who need critical, life-saving treatment should get their visas in a timely manner. Being able to easily obtain a visa is one of the primary reasons that people seeking treatment come from abroad to visit India to get that treatment that is provided at a reasonable price. Having procedures done in a timely manner has saved countless lives, and is likely to save much more in the future.

3) SURGERIES DONE ALMOST IMMEDIATELY:
The wait times for procedures in India are usually non-existent. Compare this to the Western nations where sometimes people have to wait weeks or months for vital, life-saving treatments. That can extend to years for elective procedures. This makes it clear as to why there is an appeal to travel to India to get the procedure done much more quickly. Having procedures done so quickly helps avoid further complications and health problems in the future. These are problems could be caused by waiting longer in their homeland. Many people use medical tourism in India as an option to get procedures done faster when they are fed up with the wait times in their native countries. India provides this welcome change of pace to many patients from all around the world desperately needing medical attention.


4) WORLD-CLASS SERVICES & CARE:
Despite being in a “developing” nation, hospitals and healthcare centers in India provide premium, Western-standardized care to their patients. Most hospitals will offer typical Western-style accommodations from individual to shared rooms and personalized dining schedules. Many also offer personalized services that are generally specified on their website. Some of these services can include things like language translators or personal assistance for those who are disabled. These hospitals also provide patients with 24/7 access to the hospital facilities as a standard of excellent service.

Doctors are mostly always trained in the country’s top medical universities or in other Western-style schools. Their knowledge is the same as you would find in any doctor in your homeland. Most speak fluent English as well, so language barriers are rarely an issue. Infrastructure at these hospitals is also world class, and is improving rapidly as more technology is rapidly discovered.

5) OFFER THERAPIES LIKE AYURVEDA:
Many hospitals in India are beginning to offer holistic, natural treatments like Ayurveda, Naturopathy, and Yoga which have been originated in India itself. These are fabulous techniques to aid in post-retreatment recovery for many patients. The therapies provide a relaxing aspect to healing, which helps many patients feel better much sooner. The psychological benefits are oftentimes positive as well.

6) PRIME OPPORTUNITIES FOR TRAVELERS:
Coming to India allows tourists to visit exotic destinations located nearby. People get to go see parts of the world and attractions that they may otherwise never get a chance to visit. Great sightseeing and opportunities to go see parts of the world and experience cultures that you may never otherwise experience can enhance the benefits of medical tourism. Many people relish and jump on the opportunity to learn more about how people live in the other parts of the world, and this can sometimes be the best part of a medical tourist trip!

7) CULTURAL SPECIFICATIONS
India is known to be rich in culture with numerous religions, languages and cuisines prevalent across the county. Food in India varies greatly from one state to another, depending on the local climate, location and religions.

Apart from the local food, a number of international cuisines and dishes are also easily available in most restaurants. Indian food may be spicier than what most tourists are accustomed to, and hence one must always specify the amount of spice they prefer. Patients who have recently undergone surgery must avoid spicy and oily food in particular.

Vegetarian food is easily available in the country. Dressing in the country also varies depending on the climate. Khadi or cotton cloth is commonly worn in the warmer regions. Patients travelling for treatment must check the climatic conditions of the particular state that they are visiting before packing for their trip.

8) WEATHER
India is located in Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. While the Southern part of the country experiences a tropical monsoon climate, the Northern part has more of a temperate climate. The weather in India varies from one state to another, and depends on the time of the year. There are 4 main seasons in India, spanning a period of roughly 3 months each- Summer (April- June), Monsoon (July- September), Winter (October- January) and Spring (February- March).

Winter and early summer are long and dry periods with temperatures averaging above 18 °C (64 °F). Summer is exceedingly hot; temperatures in low-lying areas may exceed 50 °C (122 °F) during May, leading to heat waves. However, almost all hospitals and hotels are air-conditioned and mostly located inland (in the cities). Hence, the high temperatures are not too troubling.

9) TOURIST SPOTS
India, known for being a culturally rich and diverse country, is home to a number of must visit tourist spots. It boasts of a variety of historical monuments displaying intriguing architecture. The most famous of these is the Taj Mahal in Agra, the mausoleum built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved life. Other must see forts and monuments include Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Jantar Mantar in Jaipur (The Pink City), the Ajanta and Ellora Caves of Maharashtra, and Qutub Minar, Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb in Old Delhi.

Tourists can also experience a variety of terrains and climates within the Indian Subcontinent. While Goa and the Andaman Islands are famous for their expansive beaches, Kashmir, Darjeeling, Gangtok and Leh are known for their beautiful hilly landscapes. Those looking for a relaxing vacation after the treatment can visit Kerala and enjoy its beautiful backwaters and healing massages.


10) GETTING AROUND
Getting around in most Indian cities and towns is cheap and easy. Cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws and hand-drawn carts are light 2-3 wheeled passenger vehicles, widely available for covering short distances within the city. Public and private buses, boats, local trains, metros and taxis provide public transport facilities for covering relatively larger distances.

Uber and Ola taxi services are also popular and easily available in major indian cities. For travelling from one city to another, one can use the Indian Railways or domestic flights. Inter-city volvo buses are also a viable option for shorter distances.

11) MEDICAL VISA CONSIDERATIONS
Tourists who are visiting India for recreational purposes or those who are visiting to meet their family/friends should apply for a tourist visa. On the other hand, individuals visiting India for medical purposes must instead apply for a medical visa. A medical visa is available to those who seek treatment in recognized and specialized hospitals and treatment centers in India.

Patients undergoing serious procedures such as heart surgeries, cosmetic procedures, joint replacements and organ transplantation are given preference. The initial duration of such a visa is up to a year or the period of treatment, whichever is lesser. The visa is valid for a maximum of 3 entries during the one aforementioned period of one year.

CONCLUSION:
India has become one of the premiere medical tourism destinations in the world for many good reasons. Lower cost does not mean lower a quality of care. The quality of care compares to that received in any Western country. Most doctors working in these hospitals in India are being educated and trained at top international medical universities in the world. These universities are comparable to those medical schools offered in the West. The best medical hospitals in India include the 27 currently-JCI accredited facilities spread out across 5 major cities in India, and almost 70 more hospitals that are in the process of obtaining certification. Each hospital has its best medical practices, and these hospitals offer treatment. At least one of them will surely offer the treatment you need as a specialty. These treatments range from open-heart-surgeries to bariatric procedures or organ transplants. Many of these hospitals are open enough to provide care much more rapidly than Western nations. This can ensure that you receive top-quality treatment before conditions get worse and cause more side-effects. This is a massive plus for many people from Western nations where waiting lists are often long. Plus, the money they save makes it even more of an obvious choice where to choose treatment in the future.