India is gradually becoming a destination of choice for medical value travel (MVT) due to high quality healthcare offered to patients by world-class hospitals and facilities that have come up across the country.
Globally, MVT is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17.9 per cent to $32.5 billion by 2019.
However, MVT in India will grow at a CAGR of 30 per cent to $10.6 billion in 2019 from $2.8 billion in 2014, according to a KPMG report
“Aster Medcity in Kochi has seen an exponential increase in medical value tourism with about 17 per cent of our business coming from this segment. This not only brings in incremental foreign exchange for the country but also helps strengthen the positioning of the country as a destination of choice. We expect this trend to increase further,” said Dr.Azad Moopen, Chairman, Aster DM Healthcare.
“In the next 20—40 years, India will become the global hub for medicine and surgery, because we have trained, skilled, super-specialists. The speed with which we receive medical care in our country also plays to our advantage,” said Dr. Rajam Krishnan Iyer, Consultant Pulmonogist.
Traditionally, the U.S., the U.K. and other developed countries have been the largest contributors in terms of medical tourists in India.
However, there is a shift in this trend with patients coming in from the Middle Eastern, SAARC and ASEAN countries. The specialities which are in demand for MVT include cardiology, orthopaedics (hip and knee replacement surgeries) and nephrology where savings for in-bound patients could range from 30 to 70 per cent.Shift to non-metros
An emerging trend within India is a shift from traditional medical destinations— Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai — to non-metro cities. An example of this is Kerala which is re-positioning itself from just a ‘wellness tourism’ destination offering Ayurveda to a more inclusive concept of ‘medical value tourism’ which also includes surgeries and treatment. As a fertile ground for medical education, medical facilities, improving infrastructure and the natural environs that make for tranquil recuperation, the state is an attractive option for medical tourists.
In India, MVT is popular because there are a number of choices available at international standards without any waiting period in comparison to U.S or U.K where patient has to wait it out. “India is a free market economy where patients are spoilt for choice here and the financial burden is low as well. We cater to super specialist surgeries so branching out is convenient with communication and interpreters and Indian hospitals are glad to take care of these facilities with their hands-on marketing departments.
“Hence, super-speciality expertise care and talent is equivalent to any of the first world countries,” says Dr. Rujuta Mehta, Head, Department of Paediatric Orthopaedics, Wadia Children’s Hospital and Consultant at Nanavati and Jaslok.
According to Dr. Aparna Santhanam, Dermatologist, “it is a growing market in cities such as Mumbai, Chennai and New Delhi because of cost effectiveness and quality of medical care.”