Africa tourism

Nha plans information portal for medical tourists

The National Health Authority (NHA) is planning to set up an institutional mechanism to connect overseas patients including NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) and Indian Overseas Citizens with reputable Indian hospitals in order to boost medical tourism, a government official said.

There is no such system dedicated to patients to ensure quality and affordable treatment at present. The system will also promote transparency and accountability.

As part of this, a portal will be set up so that patients can easily find the names of hospitals with a list of medical services, prices and other relevant information.

With a large number of patients from the subcontinent and African countries seeking Indian hospitals, the government wants the portal to showcase the country as a preferred medical tourism destination.

The Ministry of Tourism defines medical tourism as travel with medical value (MVT), which captures a patient’s healthcare-seeking behavior as well as the broader economic impact of such travel on the countries that host them.

A large number of patients travel to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Syria, Bhutan and Africa among others for affordable, advanced and quality treatments like such as cosmetic surgery, bariatric surgery, orthopedic surgery, heart surgery and hip surgery. and knee replacement.

According to an article published by the Ministry of Tourism last year, India has also become a preferred destination for yoga and wellness services with emphasis on traditional therapies through AYUSH. The number of international patients increased from 430,000 in 2016 to 700,000 in 2019, and the estimated market size that year was $5-6 billion.

“The NHA has a growing network of more than 25,000 hospitals nationwide, a state-of-the-art IT platform, and more than three years of experience implementing the largest insurance plan disease in the world, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY). Also, the organization implements several convergence programs such as Ayushman CAPF, etc. said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.

“Initially, the portal will host information on private hospitals offering affordable and quality health services. It has been observed that many patients who come to India for treatment do not have the proper information; sometimes they are overcharged and there are several cases of intermediaries misleading patients.

“Now everything is done by word of mouth. If there is a platform where all the relevant and reliable information is present regarding the hospitals, the treatment and its package then the patients can contact these hospitals either through the portal or directly if they want to seek treatment from a particular hospital. This will provide authentic and credible information to patients coming to our country,” the official said as quoted above.

Questions mailed to a Department of Health spokesperson on Friday morning went unanswered at press time.

The platform aims to bring transparency to the medical tourism system, as patients will be able to give feedback on the hospital after receiving the treatment and raise their grievances in case of overcharging or unsatisfactory treatment.

India has been ranked 10th in the Medical Tourism Index (MTI) for 2020-21 out of 46 destinations by the Medical Tourism Association.

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