Medical Travel Market Will Be Worth US $9 BN

The global medical tourism market will be worth US$54 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13% until 2025. India’s medical tourism market will be worth US$9 billion in 2020 and is the fifth largest medical tourism market out of 41 destinations.

These are the conclusions of India: Building Best Practices in Healthcare Services Globally 2019 by consultants Ernst & Young (EY India) for the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

As healthcare becomes more expensive in developed countries, India’s medical tourism market is expanding. The key drivers of growth are affordability and accessibility of good healthcare services, availability of the latest medical technologies and accreditations, and minimal waiting time.

The report repeats a common claim that medical tourists can save up to 50% of the costs of healthcare in the USA.  TTEM’s analysis suggests however that the percentage of medical tourists travelling from the USA to India as less than 0.01%. Most medical travellers going to India are from Asia and Africa.

Key Indian city destinations

Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata are the preferred destination cities for medical travellers arriving in India. 27% of India’s medical tourists head to Maharashtra, out of which 80% go to Mumbai. Chennai attracts 15% of incoming foreign patients while Kerala has 5-7%.

Bangladesh 221,751
Afghanistan 55,681
Iraq 47,640
Maldives 45,355
Oman 28,157

Source Markets of Medical Travellers to India

According to the report, based on figures from 2014 to 2017, major source markets for India is the South-East Asian countries, the Middle East, Africa and SAARC countries. More than 50% of medical tourists are from Bangladesh. The report repeats the Ministry of Tourism 2017 figures:

TTEMS’s analysis challenges the number of medical travellers from the Maldives of 45,355; as the total population of the Maldives is only 530,000 people this is disproportionately high.

The number of medical tourists on medical visas has increased from just over 10,000 in 2014 to around 480,000 in 2017. The Indian government estimates total medical tourism numbers for 2017 at just fewer than 500,000, and is expecting this amount to increase in future years.

The report says that there are 38 hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) and 643 accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH).

Key market growth risks for India

The report warns that there is a need to improve on post-operative care in terms of environment, hygiene and precautions required after a patient is operated on. India is also behind many countries on healthcare regulation; there is little to stop unaccredited hospitals, clinics or medical tourism agents from staying in business and attracting medical tourists. There is also a lack of regulation of the Indian medical tourism industry, and this lack of regulation could impede growth.

The Indian national government is criticised for its lack of support for medical tourism, particularly at government-to-government level between India and patient source countries.  Too much is left to individual hospitals. There is also no grievance or redress mechanism in place for international patients to raise  complaints. There is no policy arrangement in place to insure patients in case of unexpected complications in treatment.

Of the findings in the report, Gaurav Taneja at EY India says: “Government must form institutions for regulation and implementation of medical tourism. There is a need to build a robust platform for patients to interact with different stakeholders of the industry and define a code of conduct for medical tourism business.

With a branding and marketing campaign ‘Heal in India,’ I am sure the country will elevate its existing position in rank among the most preferred destinations.”

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Bangalore Doctors Perform a Rare Bloodless Liver Transplant on a Nigerian Patient

Doctors at the Aster CMI Hospital in Bangalore have performed India’s first bloodless liver transplant on Jehovah’s Witnesses from Nigeria. The surgery was challenging compared to a normal liver transplant due to patient’s religious beliefs. The doctors could not use blood or blood products such as platelets, fresh frozen plasma, Cryoprecipitate and more. Few such surgeries have been conducted worldwide and were successful.

The patient named – Jehozadak from Nigeria was suffering from end-stage liver disease. Without a liver transplant, his chances of survival were less than 10% in the next 2 years.

The team of liver specialists – Dr. Rajiv Lochan, Dr. Sonal Asthana, Dr. Mallikarjun Sakpal, Dr. Arun V – Anesthesiologist and Dr. Prakash Doraiswamy – Intensivist, reviewed the patient’s medical history before recommending surgery and charted out a feasible pathway.

“During a liver surgery, patients lose a lot of blood which needs to be replaced for the patient’s survival. Generally, doctors keep 3-4 units of blood and a similar quantity of platelets/plasma on reserve for the patient. In this case, we had to figure out and alternative,” said Dr. Mallikarjun Sakpal, Hepatologist at Aster CMI.

The doctors used ‘Normo-volemic hemodilution’ technique where doctors took two units each of both patient and donor’s blood and were connected to the system throughout the surgery using special equipment so there is no break in the blood circulation loop. This procedure was discussed with the patient before surgery and it was in line with their beliefs.

During the surgery, the patient lost about 2 units of blood which were compensated with the use of ‘cell-salvage’ technique to collect and reuse the blood. The surgery lasts for 12-hours and two teams of specialists with close to 25 doctors were involved in this surgery.

In a period of two weeks, the patient and his brother, who was a donor, were discharged from the hospital.   

Source : Gulfnews.com

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Apollo Doctors Save Life of 15-year-old Boy by Adapting Unique Technique

A 15-year-old boy was rushed to Apollo Hospital, Bangalore with a knife stab injury on the neck and voracious bleeding. He lost two liters of blood from the wound at the accident spot and the cut was deep at the critical position.

The injury was on the left side of his neck along with an injury in the nape of the neck and left forearm. He received an initial treatment i.e., wound suturing in another hospital and was later shifted to Apollo hospital. It was a huge challenge for doctors due to two reasons – a lot of blood loss and the location of the wound.

“The boy was brought to us in emergency and we did a quick CT Scan that showed that the cut was deep and through the blood vessels. It was difficult to save his life unless the bleeding was stopped. We removed the sutured wound and the bleeding increased profusely,” added Dr. Sunder Narasimhan.

“It wasn’t possible to perform angio-embolization of the vertebral artery because he had low blood pressure. As a result, we adopted a novel strategy, sutured his wound again and shifted him to cath lab”, he added further.

After the complex surgery, the patient is in good health and had no neurological complications.

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