The material shows medical tourism trends and describes the leading expert-opinion-based specialties in the country. This information relies on the Bookimed statistics, patient reviews, analysis of the health tourism characteristics in 28 countries, data compiled from multiple variable sources: IMTJ, the Ministry of Health, NCBI.
The report aims to specify health care peculiarities for international patients in a particular country, patients' preferences and factors that affect their choice. It is not a call to action — use it for informational purposes only.
Statistics of medical tourism in India
Each year, Indian hospitals accept over 460,000 foreign patients. According to the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA), India belongs to TOP-5 countries for medical tourism. Patients come for treatment from the following countries:
- Pakistan, etc.
Medical tourism in India is getting more popular each year. Let’s consider why India is so attractive to international patients.
Why do patients choose India for medical tourism?
The popularity of medical tourism to India among foreign patients is primarily explained by the affordable treatment prices. The quality level of medical services in India can compete with German, Korean, Turkish, Israeli clinics. Moreover, in some fields (such as transplantation), India is the best in the world.
The treatment cost of the same procedures in India is 2-3 times lower than in countries mentioned above. The reason for such affordable cost is low price policy generally in India.
High level of medical services
There are two types of medical facilities in India:
International patients are accepted only in the private hospitals, local citizens — in the state hospitals. Hospitals for medical tourism in India are located in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Gurgaon.
All the private hospitals have certificates from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH). The certificate confirms compliance of hospitals with world quality standards.
22 clinics in India have received JCI accreditation (Joint Commission International) for the high level of equipment, doctors’ qualification and safety of medical services. For comparison, there are only 10 such hospitals in Germany.
One more feature of medical tourism in India is the fact that local hospitals use the licensed analogs (generics) of American drugs. The Indian pharmaceutical companies produce medicines. The cost of such medications is 10-17 times lower than drugs imported from the USA (the price also depends on the dollar rate).
Production of the medicines right in the country reduces significantly the treatment cost.
A lot of doctors, working in the private Indian hospitals, are internationally recognized. Specialists practice in the leading American and European medical facilities to bring the experience to India. They perform unique surgeries including liver, pancreas, heart and lungs transplants.
For instance, Dr. Mohammed Rela is the Top transplant surgeon in the world. The doctor is in the Guinness Book of Records for the liver transplant in a 5-day child. Dr. Mohammed Rela has performed the most significant number of transplants in the world — 4,000. Transplantation is one of the primary specialties for medical tourism in India.
The absence of linguistic barrier
English is the 2nd official language in India. 100% of the population speak English. So a foreign patient won’t have any difficulties in communication with medical staff or local citizens.
If necessary, hospitals may provide with assistance in other languages.
TOP 5 specialties for medical tourism in India
The following specialties for medical tourism in India are the most popular among foreigners:
- treatment exclusively
- treatment plus wellness techniques like Yoga, Naturopathy, and Ayurveda
- treatment plus relax on the cost of the Indian Ocean.
The majority of patients choose India for healthcare tourism to get high quality and cheap treatment. Such specialties of medical treatment in India are popular among foreign patients:
Due to the particularities of legislation, India became the world center for organ transplantation. Donation of organs from the living donors is officially allowed here. An organ can be donated only without seeking a profit: a donor does not get money for it. Organ trafficing is forbidden by law.
The National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) develops this specialty in India. Thanks to NOTTO, there is one of the largest donor material bases in the world.
Due to the possibility of receiving a donor organ as soon as possible, medical tourists from all over the world go to India.
Indian transplantologists are the most experienced in the world. They perform the advanced transplant surgeries of the pancreas, liver, heart-lung complex. Annually, specialists in India carry out 20,000 such procedures. 90-95% of them are successful. For comparison, in Germany doctors conduct 15,000 surgeries annually.
There is a general queue for getting a donated organ both for local citizens and foreign tourists in India. When a donor bank receives a new organ, it is checked for compatibility with all candidates in order of their registration.
India is the only country where transplantation of heart-lung complex from a deceased donor is allowed for foreign patients.
Oncohematology is one more specialty why foreigners choose India for medical tourism. Indian specialists in bone marrow transplant (BMT) are ones of the most experienced in the world. Hospitals provide searching of a donor for transplant in the internal base of the country. Indian hospitals accept both children and adults to perform bone marrow transplant.
India is the 2nd country in the world regarding the amount of population — 1.3 billion people live here. Due to this, one of the biggest bone marrow donors’ banks in the world functions in India.
The cost of bone marrow transplant in India is 2.5-4 times lower than in Turkey, Israel or Germany. Despite the low price, Indian specialists perform this procedure using the same protocols.
Oncological centers in India are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies for cancer treatment. Doctors perform removal of neoplasms through incisions up to 2cm using Da Vinci robotic system. This technique allows avoiding postoperative side-effects and complications. Specialists also apply ultra-precise TrueBeam STx, Cyber- and Gamma Knife devices for irradiation of tumors. They destroy malignant cells without affecting healthy tissues.
India for medical tourism in thus case, it the best price-quality ratio.
Indian hospitals are internationally certified due to their innovations and excellence in this field of orthopedics. Doctors specialize in:
- knee, hip, elbow, shoulder transplants
- pediatric orthopedics
- orthopedic oncology
- limb lengthening
- sports medicine
- rehabilitation, etc.
Indian hospitals are equipped with special operating theatres, computer navigation systems, high definition cameras to perform surgeries with the highest accuracy. All the procedures are conducted according to the strict international standards. It guarantees effectiveness and safety of the treatment.
Gastroenterological diseases are successfully treated in India. Local specialists provide comprehensive diagnostics and treatment of ulcer disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, reflux disease, inflammatory bowel and pancreato-biliary diseases, various liver pathologies.
More and more often patients with hepatitis choose India for medical tourism. Doctors conduct treatment prescribing generics (analog of medicines from the USA) to treat hepatitis. These drugs are as effective as original ones, but treatment cost may be up to 5 times lower.
Best private hospitals in India for medical tourism
When patients go to India for healthcare tourism, it is important for them to find the best hospital. There are 3 top Indian hospitals gor medical tourism which have international recognition, high recovery rates, and professional medical staff.
Global is the most popular hospital for medical tourism in India, Chennai. It is the leading Indian clinic for liver transplant. Best transplantologists of the world work here and take the advanced cases. Specialists of Global perform high-risk surgeries in case of decompensated cirrhosis. Organ transplant surgeons of the Hospital are the first who performed a liver transplant for a patient with acute liver failure.
According to the report of Market Research Future company, Global Hospital belongs to TOP-5 leading clinics in the world for medical tourism.
The foreign patients often choose BLK Clinic for medical tourism in India, Delhi. It is one of the largest private hospitals in India. BLK is No.1 clinic in India for treatment of oncohematological diseases. There is a three-storey department for bone marrow transplant. It is the largest Center for BTM in Asia.
Specialists of BLK performed the first bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor in India.
The success rate of bone marrow transplant is 90%.
Apollo Hospitals is the largest medical network in India and popular among medical tourists. It accepts 1,000,000 patients annually. Apollo Hospitals are located in the biggest Indian cities, including Bangalore - a primary destination for medical tourism in India.
Leading cardiac surgeries work here.They have performed 1.5 million cardiac surgeries.
Doctors of the Hospital conduct 99.6% of bypass surgeries on the beating heart. This method allows making postoperative rehabilitation much easier.
Top doctors in India
Prof. Mohammed Rela is No.1 organ transplant surgeon in the world. The doctor is in Guinness Book of Records. He performed the first liver transplant in the world for a 5-day child. Now a patient is 21 years old, and she lives a full life.
Prof. Mohammed Rela has performed 4,000 liver transplants.
Dr. Sandeep Attawar is one of the leading cardiothoracic surgeons in India. The doctor specializes in the treatment of congenital heart disease, performs heart, heart-lung complex transplants. Dr. Sandeep Attawar has performed over 57 successful transplants. 3,500 surgeries for children to treat congenital heart disease.
Dr. Dharma Choudhary is a chief physician of the Bone Marrow Transplant Center in BLK Hospital. The doctor is one of the leading oncohematologists in the world.
He has performed over 800 bone marrow transplants.
Cost of medical tourism in India
Indian hospitals accept international patients without a prepayment. Patients pay for the treatment after its finishing. Approximate prices for medical services are:
Consultation with a surgeon
Coronary bypass surgery
Bone marrow transplant
Hepatitis B treatment
How can foreigners get for medical treatment in India?
Step 1. Choose a hospital
For patients who live far from India, it is difficult to organize medical tourism trip in India themselves. In this case, they need to use services of medical tourism companies which have their coordinators in Indian hospitals.
If you need any help to choose a hospital or organize a consultation with a doctor, submit a request on Bookimed website. A Doctor-Coordinator will contact you and take into account all your requirements.
Patients do not pay for Bookimed services. You pay only for medical procedures included in the bill.
Step 2. Booking a consultation with a specialist
A Doctor-Coordinator will ask you to send all your medical records. They will be sent to a chosen hospital. Then you receive a treatment plan with prices from a hospital within 3 days.
Step 3. Visa
Citizens of all countries, except Bhutan and Nepal, need a visa to visit India. Before going for treatment to India, a patient needs to find out how to get a visa.
Step 4. Treatment
A Bookimed medical doctor stays in touch with you during the whole treatment till your coming back home.
Medical tourism in India: patients’ reviews
Treatment of a person with HIV-diagnosis is always a challenge. Friends were looking for a cure for me in India. Having learned the cost of treatment in different places, they chose the Artemis Institute of Health. Arriving, I was surprised how civilized and modern this hospital was. The attending physician was very professional. He discussed everything with me. After returning home, I have only positive memories of the institute.
I appealed to Bookimed, and they found us a doctor and a clinic. We flew there. I was operated on.The operation was successfully completed. Thanks to everyone who helped me, especially coordinator Bogdan Klimenko.
We wanted a child with my husband, but for a long time it did not work out. The doctor advised artificial insemination in Israel, but when we got acquainted with the prices ($ 14,000), we understood that it was very expensive. On the Internet, we found out that there are clinics in India certified by the United States (JCI). We chose Artemis. Do not believe those who say that medicine is ba in India - I have not seen before or after such cleanliness and so much advanced medical equipment. We came there twice - for diagnosis (prescribed hormones) and then for the IVF process. By the way, they have inexpensive medicines. The girl was born 3.7 kg, without any problems. I am very happy.
Learn about medical tourism in other countries: