Medical Tourism

India Healing with Technology and Tradition

written by | Posted on November 1st, 2009

It’s no surprise that India, with its thousands of years of culture and learning, has stepped to the forefront in terms of the highest quality medical tourism—easily competitive and oftentimes surpassing some of the best medical facilities and procedures available in the West.

In addition to its highly regarded and traditional alternative medical and meditative practices that include Ayurveda, yoga and tantra, India is one of the leading countries in terms of cutting-edge medical technology and diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical procedures. Its hospitals, research and medical treatment facilities are state-of-the-art and easily the equal of the most sophisticated facilities anywhere in the world.

Indeed, its corporate hospitals excel in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, joint replacement, orthopedic surgery, gastroenterology, transplants and urology, to name a few procedures. The various specialties covered are neurology, neurosurgery, oncology, ophthalmology, rheumatology, dermatology, dentistry, and plastic surgery, among others. The various facilities in India, meanwhile, offer full-body pathology, dental checkup, eye checkup, diet consultation, and a slew of other tests. Each test is carried out by professional M.D. physicians, and is comprehensive, yet pain-free. There is also a gamut of services ranging from general radiography, ultra sonography, and mammography, to high-end services like magnetic resonance imaging, and digital subtraction angiography, along with intervention procedures. The diagnostic facilities in India, incidentally, are just as comprehensive in their offerings.

Needless to say, however, wading through all this medical expertise is not for the uninitiated or the faint-hearted. Accordingly, says Sunil Trehon, general manager of Easy Tours of India—an Austin, TX-based tour operator to India with a full-time medical tourism department focusing on India—“The emerging world of medical tourism is one that must be tapped into by successful travel agents. Most people who are considering it as an attractive option have already sold themselves on the idea, but have no idea how to make it happen. Many agents may feel a little lost when asked about medical tourism by a potential client. This does not have to be the case when dealing with Easy Tours of India, as we will take care of all of the client’s needs and questions while enhancing the travel agent’s relationship with the client.”

For those who may have doubts about the expertise of the medical services offered in India as compared to those offered here in the U.S., it’s important to be aware that a recent survey here found that more than one-third of the physicians in the U.S. are of Indian origin. The reason for that was economic: most of the opportunities Indian doctors had for employment in India—many of whom, by the way, received their medical education and training in western countries—used to be the massive infrastructure of state-run hospitals and clinics. As a result, many of the highly trained Indian doctors who were interested in more lucrative opportunities did their best to emigrate to the U.S. and other western countries and in turn, these nations encouraged this influx to fulfill their need for qualified and skilled practitioners.

But as India stepped forward a couple of decades ago and began to take its place in the world as the technological behemoth it’s become today, the medical community embraced technology, as well. Indeed, as India’s economy began booming, the private healthcare industry added thousands of high-end medical hospitals and clinics to cater to the surge in demand for quality medical care. Indian doctors now have an opportunity to stay in their own country while being rewarded with great wages and excellent working conditions. Today, India has hundreds of thousands of skilled physicians and nurse practitioners and over the last two decades, the economic boom in India has led to the building of medical facilities and related infrastructure that rivals the very best western medical care in the U.S. The new facilities also offer comfort and hygiene levels that rival the very best private clinics in the west at a tiny fraction of the cost.

More importantly, many of the physicians who practice in these hospitals and clinics have returned to India from North America and Europe where they learned and, in many cases, developed cutting-edge medical technology and surgical practices they brought back home.