They added technologies, revamped international fairs, offered robotic surgery, among other measures.
According to the Lok Sabha Report 2022, medical tourism in India increased from 697,453 in 2019 to 303,526 in 2021. However, due to the pandemic, the year 2020 saw only 182,945 Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India . Several hospitals have taken steps to promote medical tourism, such as adding the latest technologies, revamping international fairs, offering robotic surgery, etc.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian about the expansion of medical tourism, Neha Pandey, International Marketing Director, Asian Hospital Faridabad, said: “With recent efforts like the ‘Heal in India’ initiative, things seem to be going in the right direction. We plan to add more services and techniques, such as providing an online consultation platform, planning to open new offices in CIS countries and African countries, robotic surgery, etc. ., to stimulate medical tourism and take it to another level. The Asian hospital receives most of the patients from Bangladesh, Nepal, Uzbekistan and Middle Eastern countries.
Similarly, other hospitals such as PSRI Hospital will provide a dedicated combo package which includes treatment, travel; visit some local tourist sites. Talking about the problems faced by the patients, Ratnesh Sinha, Director of Sales and Marketing at PSRI Hospital, told the newspaper, “Sometimes patients from CIS countries face language problems as they cannot neither speak or understand English.In this case, we provide an interpreter to them who can translate everything from cost,stay and treatment line.The hospital receives many patients from African countries like Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, CIS countries, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, SAARC countries like Bangladesh, Nepal , Afghanistan, as well as patients from Fiji and Iraq. , Yemen, Myanmar, Mauritius.
Additionally, Accord Superspeciality Hospital, Faridabad is in talks with Airports Authority of India (AAI) to open an office inside Delhi International Airport to provide end-to-end and seamless service to international patients. A wing dedicated to international patients with staff specially trained in their culture, language and eating habits is also being set up. For the follow-up of international patients, once back in their country of origin, the doctors will make monthly visits to their country.
Many patients also face challenges as several start-ups are also linked to hospitals. In such cases, Dr. Yuvraj Kumar, Co-Founder and Chairman of Orthopaedics, Joint Replacement and Sports Injuries, Accord Super Specialty Hospital, Faridabad, clarified that transparency of information and quality of services play an important role. “Patients should research the quality of services provided by hospitals through impartial reviewers, which is very commonly available in the internet world, such as Google Review on Google Business page. Then they can email or get in touch directly to verify the treatment they seek. They should do a comparative analysis before deciding to travel,” he added.
To boost medical tourism, the Ministry of Tourism has formulated a national strategy which focuses on providing alternative sources of medicines such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopath (AYUSH) in the framework of medical tourism. Strategies such as enabling digitalization by creating an online Medical Value Exchange (MVT) portal and improving its accessibility will help further promote medical tourism.