3 min read
21 April 2023

Medical tourism in India

Medical tourism has flourished in India over the years. India ranked 10th in the 2020-2021 Medical Tourism Index. And the arrival of foreign tourists for medical purposes has increased from 1.83 lakh in 2020 to 3.04 lakh in 2022. These findings indicate enormous opportunities for doctors to benefit from medical tourism.

The way forward for medical professionals

For medical tourism to have a major impact, healthcare providers must make some investments. Build and maintain a social media profile, a website, and a blog. Collaborate with travel agencies, five-star hotels, and other hospitality service providers. Ensure comfort to international tourists in every aspect. You need to take care of their end-to-end requirements.

Investment in technology, security, and translators is essential to make Indian healthcare become world-class. Loans for doctors are customised financing solutions. You can use these solutions to make necessary investments and cash in on the booming medical tourism market.

Factors attracting medical tourist to India

Medical tourism in India is growing steadily each year. Chennai city is popular as the “Health capital of India”. The city attracts more than 40% of medical tourists due to the number of multi- and super-speciality hospitals. It is estimated that Chennai has approximately 150 international patients every day. The various factors that attract medical tourists to India are:

1. Cost

India provides high-quality healthcare at lower rates. The cost of treatment in India is one-tenth the cost of the same treatment in the US/UK. For example, a heart bypass surgery may cost approximately US$ 1,23,000 in the US, whereas in India, it costs roughly US$ 7,900 or less.

2. Quality

India has 43 JCI-accredited hospitals. The country has the infrastructure to provide high-quality treatment using the latest technologies and techniques.

3. Waiting time

In developed countries like the US, UK, and Canada, patients have to wait for major surgeries. India has no waiting time or very little waiting time for surgeries.

4. Language

Despite linguistic diversity, English is one of the official languages in India. Knowledge of English, a global language, makes communication easy with foreign patients.

5. Travel

The Government of India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the Ministry of Tourism are focusing on making India a more prominent medical destination. For this purpose, a medical visa has been introduced, which allows a medical tourist to be in India for a specific period. A visa on arrival is granted for citizens from a few countries, letting them stay in India for 30 days.

How to attract medical tourists and the cost involved

The cost of hosting an international patient depends upon factors like the medical intervention needed, the hospital, the physician, and the duration of stay. Medical tourism is a competitive sector. You may take a few initiatives to attract medical tourists:

1. Invest in technology

Medical tourists get attracted to world-class healthcare facilities. You need to invest wisely in technology-enabled services and facilities as per global standards. Technology investments depend on the infrastructure and services that you plan to provide. For better accessibility to your services, you can create an app for using the services offered by your hospital or clinic.

2. Have a strong online presence

Online marketing is essential in medical tourism. You need to maintain a user-friendly and easy-to-understand website and blog. The cost of maintaining a CMS website is approximately Rs. 15,000 and a blog page will cost you approximately Rs. 500 per year for a domain name and hosting. You can answer queries with a live chat feature on your website. A live chat feature may cost you approximately Rs. 1,200 per month.

Be active on social media like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. You can invest in paid promotions to promote your web page on social media platforms like Facebook.

3. Collaborate

Medical tourism is a team effort. You need to invest in collaborating with hospitality partners, representatives of international health officials, and others.

Additional services to attract medical tourists

Apart from quality healthcare, you may need to provide additional services to medical tourists. These services can make their travel and stay comfortable. The extra services for medical tourists you can provide are:

1. Quotation assistance

The quotation is a primary concern for a medical tourist. Right from travel and accommodation to doctor appointments and post-treatment arrangements, the tourist has to prepare for all the costs. Physicians should make an approximate quotation as per the medical intervention and hospital stay required.

2. Visa assistance

Foreign nationals require a visa invitation letter to apply for a medical visa to India. Get necessary details such as the full name of the patient, passport number, and other details from the patient. Then, make arrangements for issuing the visa invitation letter to prospective foreign patients.

3. Collaborate

Medical tourism is a team effort. You need to invest in collaborating with hospitality partners, representatives of the international health offices, etc.

4. Accommodation service

Comfort is essential for medical tourists. Invest in it. You need to provide spacious accommodations to international patients. The room must have 24*7 room service, laundry service, internet, air conditioner, TV, and meals facility. Collaborate with a travel agency, five-star hotels, guest houses, and other external partners, to ensure comfort.

5. Interpretation service

The staff hired for international patients should be fluent in speaking English. You may need to hire translators for non-English speaking patients. The salary for translators can be around 4.2 lakh p.a.

6. Security service

You cannot compromise the safety of medical tourists. To ensure safety, you must make sufficient investments in hiring trained security personnel and using the latest security technologies.

Additional Read: Indemnity Insurance

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