Medical Tourism

My friend and I are very bullish about the prospects of Medical Tourism in India, and that is the reason why we have invested in Apollo Hospitals. He recently wrote a short blogpost on it. Although I share his optimism about it, but I am still very skeptic about some of the assertions which he made… esp. about how it impacts the rest of the Nation.

Firstly, World over medical tourism is restricted to a niche of planned surgery. People do not go abroad for a routine check-up/diagnosis. So if India becomes a medical tourism destination, then I do not see the benefits going beyond the department of surgery. However for most people proper health care means good diagnosis by a general practitioners. So even for those who can afford, benefits would be limited.

Secondly, the foreign Insurance companies cannot ship anybody just anywhere. For a hospital to receive international patients, it has to not only 25% better than the rest, but also need to have certificates and documentary proofs to assert the same. After all, we might compromise on the quality of grocery we purchase, but nobody like to compromise their health to save a few pennies. This means that the hospitals would need to have trained staff with not only internationally recognized degrees, but would have to send them to seminars and constantly keep them abreast with the latest in the medical world. The hospital facilities would have to be ramped up from things that are visible like latest equipments to things which we do not notice like proper waste disposal and sanitization. This is a multi million dollar investment, and I do not see this happening in too many hospitals too soon, and even if it happens, the facilities would be near international airports (6-10 cities at max). So bulk of the billion population would only look at the facilities and sulk.

In USA, the doctors have to quarantine patients for almost every communicable disease (like malaria, and dengue), what they expect and how they treat is greatly different from what is widely expected by doctors in India. So unless the doctors practice some sort of double standards, I do not think the same hospital can satisfy both Indian and International patients.

However all said and done, this revolution would greatly benefit the country. Apart from boosting our ego, it would earn us a lot of precious foreign currency, greatly increase the standards as well as investments in the field of medicine. Also one of the biggest complaint of doctors is that there are not sufficient training institutes and their salaries have not kept pace with the booming IT/ITES/BPO and retail sectors. So this is probably their chance to improve the job satisfaction.

PS: I have no background in the field of medicine… so all the readers of ENagar, esp. doctors are humbly requested to help me refine my thoughts.

only big hospitals who can afford latest surgery equipment