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Medical tourism booms in India

Source: PTI
February 07, 2006 14:25 IST
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Medical tourism has got a shot in the arm with number of overseas patients touching 100,000 mark last year as against 10,000 patients in 2000 thanks to the bouquet of quality healthcare services fraught with cost advantage.

"India offers a wide range of specialised services at less than one-fifth of the cost in developed countries which is strengthening medical tourism industry," chief executive officer Recover Discover, Vimal Dikshit, told PTI.

RD, a Canada-based company, facilitates and organises quality medical services at affordable prices for customers seeking medical treatment abroad.

Canadian Minister of Labour and Citizens' Services Michael de Jong, who recently visited few hospitals in India, was impressed with the facilities being provided in India.

"Healthcare facilities being provided in some of the hospitals are on par with that being provided in developed nations that too at one-fifth of the price. "It will help overs as patients avail these services," he said.

The services are definitely not for everyone. It is only for those who have either a long waiting list there or specific treatment that is available here, he said.

Medical tourism here is ticking, it is now a Rs 1,330 crore (Rs 13.30 billion) industry as about 1,00,000 patients come each year, Dikshit said adding it is not only the cost advantage that keeps the sector growing, it has a high success rate and a growing credibility as well.

A study by McKinsey and Confederation of Indian Industry says that at its current pace of growth, healthcare tourism alone can rake over 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) additional revenue by 2012.

"As Indian corporate hospitals are on par, if not better than the best hospitals in Thailand and Singapore, there is scope for improvement, and the country may soon become a preferred medical destination," Dikshit said.

The company has tied up with various multi-and single specialty hospitals in India such as Apollo, Escorts, Fortis, Max, Wockhardt, Hinduja Hospitals and others to offer Indian options to overseas patients.

"We do not intent to sound like imposing treatment on the patient. We make all options available to the patient in India and then he/she can choose where to go for treatment," he said.

RD has tied up with various physicians in Canada, who would inform patient there about the facilities available in India. "As patients put lots of trust in his/her physician, we informed them about the quality services offered here, which could be availed for cost-advantage or in case of a long waiting list in Canada," he said.

RD has also partnered with tour operators so as to help patient go for the desired destination, he said.

The company, currently, doing business in Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur and Goa, is designed to take advantage of PhiStream's (parent company) software development and IT outsourcing subdiary here to provide highly scalable, cost effective and best of health care services.

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