H.E.A.T 2016: Day 2: Panel Discussion: “Medical tourism-its impact on industry and its bottleneck”

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Mr. Partha Dey- Healthcare Leader and SME, IBM Health Care

Mr. Partha began the discussion with the importance of showing readiness and also providing the world class facilities to the tourists which are not available in their own country. The next crucial point in exploiting this opportunity is to become the cost competitive. We need to make sure that we become cost effective, else there won’t be any competition with U.S. or western countries.

Mr. Partha also emphasized on publicizing our outcomes and success. He believes showcasing our success by publicizing our research and outcomes will attract tourists towards our hospitals and facilities. He concluded that the one challenge is to have a preference of tourist patients over our own citizen since tourists can pay a premium for the services.

Dr. Sajjan Madappady- Managing Director & CEO, Dynamic Medicare Pvt. Ltd.

Dr. Sajjan started with an analysis of the medical tourism industry which is only a decade old and from the last two years it has been an emerging trend.  Today, the medical tourism industry comprises of 60 Million people across the world where India comprise of only 60,000 people. This industry is growing at an average of 33% increase in medical tourists. He made a unique point about Swachh Bharat, Clean India etc. which are adding value to the quality of the facilities which showcase better infrastructure. He concluded that Chennai is a hub for medical tourism in India.

Prof. Dr. N Ravichandran- Professor, Hamdard University

Dr. N Ravichandran said that India is not prepared to exploit the medical tourism, but we have good opportunity to utilize it. According to him, there are multiple barriers for this unpreparedness. First is that at the cost of whom are we going to develop this industry. We have less number of hospitals and doctors per citizen as compared to the other countries. The second factor is the cost of living which is cheaper in other countries as compared to us which makes us uncompetitive. He pointed out that we don’t have a mindset as of now to change. He concluded that there is a drastic need to change in people, process, and technology to utilizing the medical tourism.

Dr. Saghir Siddique-Unit Head, Manipal Corporate Hospital, Mangalore

Dr. Saghir categorized medical tourism in India under two business perspectives- market and provider perspectives. He believes that India is ready for the Middle East and North Africa, but not yet for the western world. As far as cost is concerned, India is a good opportunity for developing countries. As per provider perspective, India is ready on facilities, expertise, tertiary care but not in the service culture. He also stated that despite the government policy issues, off late there are changes that would hopefully eradicate constraint.

Mr. Dinesh Madhavan- Director Healthcare Services, Healthcare Global Enterprises

Mr. Dinesh started off stating that medical value in India is not allopathy or tertiary care, but Yoga and Ayurveda. He said that medical value travel is basically icing on the cake. He emphasized access shouldn’t be restricted to citizens but open to foreigners as well. He said that medical value is recognized globally for outcomes measured. On barriers, he said that government policies let us down in large ways.

Mr. Dinesh said that there is no negative sense in business for medical value travel. He pointed out that India should sell the country as a destination of healthcare rather than leave it to private players. He stated the two important interventions are lacking scientific temperament and globalization of the country. He concluded by quoting “You don’t reach your destination until you take the first step.”

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