Set up web portal for medical tourism: Commerce Sec. Wadhawan to healthcare industry

Greater Noida: Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Anup Wadhawan, has urged the healthcare industry to set up an online web portal that will facilitate international patients coming to India for treatment. The portal will have relevant information and services to help patients plan their travel and treatment. The pharma, medical and healthcare industries refer to this as Medical Value Travel (MVT), more commonly known as Medical Tourism.

Speaking on 13 November at the 5th International Summit on Medical Value Travel at ‘Advantage Healthcare India 2019’ organised by FICCI jointly with the Department of Commerce, Wadhawan said, “Medical value travel is beyond just treatment, it’s treatment-plus and the industry should see what the qualitative aspects are that need to be improved in our healthcare services.”

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Wadhawan added that India has significant medical infrastructure, yet the majority of these are in the metro cities. To provide comprehensive medical coverage, it is imperative that rural areas should also have access to the latest and affordable healthcare, he remarked.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu echoed similar sentiments last week when he called for timely emergency services & quality healthcare.

The three-day summit includes an exhibition, and is expected to witness participation of over 400 buyers and 200 exhibitors from 70 countries.

Sangeeta Godbole, Director General of Services Export Promotion Council, Government of India said, “India has very strong traditional healthcare ways that will help in furthering the cause of healthcare not only in our country but also in the rest of the world.”

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Sangita Reddy, President-elect of FICCI and Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, said that India is unparalleled in delivering quality medical care at one-tenth of the global cost and aims to transform this sector so that India becomes the epicenter of medical tourism.

“Concepts of telemedicine and online consultations are growing tremendously,” added Reddy. Last month, Indus Dictum reported on a study that found telemedicine to be useful for HIV treatment & anti-retroviral therapy.

Harish Pillai, Chair of FICCI MVT Committee and CEO of Aster DM Healthcare (India), said that the Indian medical and wellness market is growing, and medical tourism is also adding to this growth.

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“India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing markets in medical value travel and the National FICCI MVT Committee has been giving recommendations to the government, advocating policy change in the sector,” observed Pillai.

Narottam Puri, Adviser MVT & Health Services at FICCI and Ex-chairman of NABH, while introducing the ‘FICCI Code of Ethical Conduct by Indian Hospitals’ said, “Hospitals signing this code provide a commitment of morality and ethics in the management of patients.”

Devlina Chakravarty, Former Co-chair of FICCI MVT Committee and Managing Director of Artemis Hospitals, said that Indian hospitals have worked hard to deal with the issue of infection in hospitals and today the rate of infection has come down due to the stringent anti-microbial policy brought in by major hospitals across the country.

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A report on the medical industry titled ‘FICCI-EY Knowledge Paper on India: Building Best Practices in Healthcare Services Globally’ was also released during the event, and covered the phenomenon of medical tourism. The key takeaways from the study are:

  • Medical tourism has evolved rapidly in the past two decades. Many countries, especially developing counties, are trying to establish themselves as major MVT hubs.
  • The global medical tourism market was valued at US$53,768 million in 2017. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.9% from 2018-25.
  • As healthcare turns costlier in developed countries like USA and UK, India’s medical tourism market is expected to become US$9 billion by 2020.
  • Major destination cities in India are Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. A total of 27% of medical travellers visit Maharashtra out of which 80% go to Mumbai. Chennai attracts nearly 15% while Kerala handles around 5-7%.
  • Major source markets for India are countries from Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, and SAARC region. More than 50% of medical travellers coming to India are from Bangladesh.
  • India’s offerings in the medical travel space have led it to be one of the most popular MVT destinations. These offerings include affordable treatment, service and care and tourism.

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The ID Staff

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