Cost-wise, India now serves as a medical tourism hub for patients from around the world to seek affordable, world class, and professional medical care. India has many established medical professionals from various practices that can help patients and not to mention, many Indian hospitals possess state-of-the-art medical facilities and cutting-edge technologies. Apollo Hospitals being among the leading ones. Some of the medical services provided are cardiac surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, robotic surgeries, oncology services, orthopaedics, joint replacement and also the holistic approach to health care. Moreover, India has the facility of assisted reproductive technology, abbreviated as ART, which is why it is the preferred destination for infertility treatment.
Roughly speaking, the cost of Indian medical services is the lowest in Southeast Asia, and about 30% lesser than that of the West.
As English is the official language of the country, this also benefits foreign customers who visit India for treatment. There is an abundance of trained doctors and medical staff who can comfortably converse in English with foreign patients.
Indian medical tourism is not only known for modern medicine, but also for its 5000-year-old medicine systems, the Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy. Giving a new individuality to the medical tourism of India, these systems are sought by people from other countries of the world as alternate medicines. By 2007, India stood second in medical tourism by offering its medical services to about 450,000 foreign patients. Indian government even take part in facilitating the entry of these patients into the country by providing special medical visas.
Ever since the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM, 2005), the health infrastructure and health indicators have seen great improvement. The health sector expenditure increased from 0.4% of GDP in 2005 to 1.1% in 2009. This shows how the Indian healthcare system is changing, and how it is playing its role in the nation to move forward for a world-class health infrastructure in the future and earn more by its medical tourism.
The private medical sector remains the primary source of healthcare for the majority of people in both urban and rural areas. Apollo Hospitals is among the largest group in the industry. While there are long waiting times in the public settings, this is not so among the private sector hospitals. More importantly, many institutes ensure patients who are travelling for treatment are well accommodated as it takes much more effort to take care of travel documents, flight schedules, while also keeping to doctor appointments and more in an unfamiliar environment. Apollo Hospitals offers international patients zero waiting time via its online portal. Patients from anywhere around the world, could easily look up doctors and specialist and make an appointment for a personal consultation before deciding to take a flight for treatment in India. And this is all without a fee.
Western visitors are not the only ones who are appealed by India’s high-quality medical services. Africa and the Middle East are also now among the foreign customers of India. Promotion of medical tourism by tax concessions equals to putting a red carpet for foreigners.
The city of Chennai especially is called ‘India’s health capital,’ because of its multi- and super-specialty hospitals, such as Apollo Hospitals Chennai, which invite 150 international patients daily. 45% of health tourists and 30-40% of domestic health tourists come to Chennai. Low costs, little or no waiting period, and the advanced facilities are the reasons why Chennai attracts most of them. Out of about 12,500 hospital beds, half are used by patients from other Indian states and foreigners.