Domestic Medical Tourism, is it the new in-thing of Healthcare?

Although Medical Tourism is not new (you may get references in old mythology too), but it has seen a steep growth across the world. Unlike earlier, patients can now choose the best destination for their treatment by the help of GIS in terms of optimum healthcare & costs. India, of all has come up as a favorable destination in this sector, primarily due to lower costs, good quality of healthcare, ease of travel and diversity of languages.

With price of treatment about one-tenth as compared to similar treatments in the US or UK, patients from Asia, Middle-east, Africa and Europe find India as their preferred option for their medical needs. Over the years, lots of medical tourism companies in India have been flourished who do tie-ups with a Surgical Tech Volunteer Abroad to get patients into their facility. Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai & Delhi NCR receive the highest number of foreign patients in India every year.

Having said all that, the question is: “Do only foreign patients need Medical Tourism”? The answer would be a “NO”.

In United States or any other developed country, patients usually get all the necessary treatments (at insured rates) in their local hospitals that are mostly funded by government. But this is not the case with patients in India, a country as big and populated as it is. Apart from a handful of major cities, it is hard to get (good) treatment locally. The healthcare infrastructure is very poor especially in the rural India. Patients from such places travel to another city within the country for getting better and/or less expensive treatment. This is “Domestic Medical Tourism”, a term heard recently but picking its popularity.

Thankfully with the blossoming of the Startup Ecosystem in India, there are a few healthcare startups working primarily on domestic medical tourism. Raipur, Chhattisgarh based “Ineeddoctor” is one such. It helps patients to search, compare & choose a medical facility in another city, book their appointment, share reports and get pre-travel assistance and even get priority treatments at the hospitals. It is usually difficult for a patient in rural areas to get all this done. Ineeddoctor helps them with its online as well as on-call (9111319111) services & that too for no charges.

Let’s consider the case of Rama Sahu (changed name for privacy reasons), from a village 100 miles from Raipur whose 2 years old nephew had a cancer in kidney. Coming from a farming background, travelling to Raipur multiple times & shredding lakhs of rupees on treatment was creating havoc on the family, both financially and mentally. That’s when he contacted Ineeddoctor, whose team took the case on priority and contacted Tata Memorial Center in Mumbai & shared the reports & case file immediately. The consultants spoke to the patient’s family and arranged their appointment and even helped them getting priority treatment on arrival. The patient underwent a successful surgery, the fourth day after contacting.

This is just one case of many where domestic medical tourism & the companies handling them can play a big part in providing optimum healthcare to patients across the country. So yes, “Domestic Medical Tourism” is the new in-thing of healthcare.

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