Answering the Big “Q” : What is Medical Value Tourism (MVT)
Medical Value Tourism or more popularly MVT is a term coined to address the convergence of FTA’s (Foreign Tourist Arrivals) with medical purpose . The term ‘medical facilities’ coupled with tourist interests has been gaining momentum world over and is no different in India. The country’s offering of wide and distinctive landscape has always attracted FTA’s and recently with much improved low cost medical services have certainly justified the tag of “Incredible India”. The medical tourism market globally has graduated to a new source to aid any country’s economic strength and is currently at US$ 17 Billion (for FY15). Conceptually, tourism can be clubbed with medical value only when the latter is of the form of wellness or non-ailment associated treatments. Some fast facts associated with MVT in India are presented below:
Looking Beyond the Borders – Unavailability of Quality Healthcare Services Promoting MVTs Globally
The quality and sophistication in healthcare services is not alike across the globe. Residents of countries wherein the healthcare spending witnesses a cap courtesy the local Government policies and lack of private infrastructure and capability to handle the local population makes the business case for MVTs. Also, there is often considerably disparity existing in the socio-economic conditions of the population many a times leading to situations where despite the purchasing parity, patients are unable to access the quality healthcare simply due to lack of availability. Host of African countries, South American countries and even Middle East countries have similar problems and issues.
Key Factors for Driving MVT in India – Identifying the Edge
The factors which have made India as a preferred destination for MVT are the quality and the affordability factors coupled, which on the contrary is absent among developed countries. Also, medical tourism often provides an alternate way for uninsured or underinsured patients to obtain economical treatment.
India AdvantEDGE – Cost Competitiveness and Globally Accredited Institutions
For any country JCI accreditation is considered the platinum standard in global health care and certifies the quality conscious patients confidence and security about clinical outcomes. If the number of accredited hospitals are more in a country , the better would be its positioning in the global medical tourism arena. Not only this but it would be preferred by insurance companies that consider financing procedures undertaken abroad mandate JCI as a necessary condition. While JCI is globally recognized, hospitals certified by national boards such as NABH are equally good to meet global standards in clinical outcomes and processes and India boasts of over 300 such facilities offering immediate care of seekers. Apart from the accreditations , what India offers as an added advantage is the cost competitiveness if compared from other leading medical facilities providers of the world for majority of complicated treatments.
Although, MVT is brimming and gaining rapid momentum to establish itself as a major corridor of business in India but the competition which the country faces from its SEA region counterparts is prolific and to edge past them certain steps like setting up of medicities, more accredited hospitals as per global standards viz. JCI and better connectivity among others are needed to be prioritized. Having evolved so far in line with the global standards in promoting MVTs India surely will be a FTA hub relating to medical treatments in coming decade.