Traveling outside the home country i.e., country of residence to another country for the purpose of receiving medical care is known as Medical Tourism. The tremendous Growth in the popularity of medical tourism has caught the attention of researchers, policy-makers and the media. As the cost of healthcare in the United States and other parts of the world are sky rocketing, a number insurance companies and employers have also started to view medical tourism as a way to reduce these costs. Most countries have started to see that economic advantages arising out of this market, so they provide quality medical services at a low price.
An important aspect involved in the decision to engage in medical tourism is the various kinds of treatments and their availability. Some of the common types of treatments availed by patients include elective dentistry, cardiac surgery, cosmetic surgery and organ transplantation. Apart from the cost factor the increase of medical tourism is due to availability of easy access to such services, technology and expertise in other countries and the scarcity of the same in the home country. Example stem cell therapy and organ Transplant.
The shifts in patient mobility can be broadly classified into 2 categories. One is where people travel to less-developed countries from richer countries in order to access health services at a lower cost. Some of the other reasons for the patients to opt for the above shift are due to availability of cheaper flights, easy access to consumer information about the medical services, online user reviews, etc. On the other hand, people from less developed countries travel up to the developed countries to avail the state of the art technologies and expert medical services.
Medical tourism is expected to grow considerably in the next decade worldwide and studies show that India stands among the top 3 medical tourism destinations in Asia. Surveys further show cost of treatment in India start at around one-tenth of the cost of comparable treatment in America or Britain. Hence the future of India in Medical Tourism seems to be promising.
Advantages of medical treatment in India include lower costs, upgraded medical technologies and increased regulatory requirements with respect to quality of service. Language translators have been hired by a number of hospitals to make patients from other countries feel more comfortable while at the same time helping in the facilitation of their treatment. Additionally the Government of India is focusing on development of infrastructure to facilitate growth of Medical Tourism. Visa restrictions have been waived off on tourist visas that required a two-month gap between consecutive visits for people from Gulf countries. For tourists from select countries a visa-on-arrival scheme has been introduced which allow foreign nationals to stay in India on medical grounds for up to a month.