India Now - page 41

became apparent to him. Besides, he perceived a growing
desire in the domestic market players in India to leverage
this growing opportunity to generate extra income by cater-
ing to the needs of overseas patients.
Twenty years on, he finds “customised medical tourism
services to suit the growing demand” being offered in the
Indian market. However, Biswas also points to the need for
an organised approach to the valued medical traveller market
infrastructure. “Overall responsibility of care and 24 hour
communication and after care support services for overseas
patients when required are important and yet challenging
factors that make a big difference in care for the medical
tourists,” he says. The KPMG report too calls for a consolidat-
ed effort to promote India as a medical tourism destination.
Advatech has invested in an innovative approach, creating a
24-hour call centre and a technology driven interface to allow
clients, doctors and hospitals to communicate/share medical
information with each other. “Over the past four years, we
have built a large network of healthcare professionals and
hospitals along with a dedicated marketing team,” informs
Biswas. In addition to the rapidly growing medical tourism
market between India and the UK, other areas of growth that
Advatech is investing in, are emergency ambulance services
in India and private diagnostic services in the UK.
The sound business concept and the emerging oppor-
tunities in the sector brought in experienced stakeholders
for Advatech. Biswas also attended various roadshows and
events networking extensively to draw in the right partners.
As a result, there came on board, Dr Bala Raju, Medical
Director, who had been running private clinics in multiple
regions across the UK for over six years; Dr Suresh Mali,
Clinical Director, with extensive background experience as a
GP in the NHS, besides, a range of other healthcare indus-
try experts as partners and advisors to ensure the long-term
viability of this complex and demanding health project. With
private investments from the key stakeholders, seed funding
by WEBEL VC and a limited debt funding from a nation-
alised bank to buy ambulances, the company set up the nec-
essary infrastructure within three years and also established a
set of standard operating procedures that were absent in the
fledgling industry.
Commenting on the recent trend of package deals in medi-
cal tourism, Biswas says, “Medical tourism is a serious busi-
ness, the term now being used for patients across the world
is ‘medical value travellers’. Although the markets so far are
largely growing by word of mouth, the Government of India
recently announced 50 Ayurvedic medical circuits across the
country. Such initiatives will definitely promote medical and
wellness tourism from within and outside India, as evident
from the growing list of services that medical tourists are
seeking including fertility treatments, alcohol detoxification,
holistic treatments for multiple sclerosis, etc. It is difficult
and probably impossible to list the range of conditions for
“Medical tourism is a
serious business...the
Government of India
recently announced
50 Ayurvedic medical
circuits across the
country. Such initiatives
will definitely promote
medical and wellness
tourism from within and
outside India...”
Samit Kumar Biswas
Director & CEO, Advatech Healthcare Europe Ltd
which foreign tourists seek treatment in India, as there is no
evidence base or research in this area,” explains Biswas.
What makes India such a sought after destination for
health and healing is not just the cost advantage. Though,
admittedly, a patient can save between 30 to 70 per cent on
medical related costs, India has also increasingly improved
its quality perception with private hospitals actively seeking
accreditation from international agencies and working on
global quality parameters of infrastructure. Apart from the
quality of doctors and hospitals, Bafna puts it down to some
additional offerings like fluency in English of the medical
fraternity and the quality of services of top hospitals in the
country that act like magnets. Biswas agrees adding, “India
has a large pool of multi-lingual and culturally aware work-
force. Based on their previous travels and expertise from
around the world, they can be recruited in special situations
to facilitate an open communication between the patients
and the clinicians to reduce any misunderstandings and
potential errors.” The main reason for India being a medical
tourism destination is the high levels of skills and delivery of
healthcare in the country’s hospitals and clinics. It is unde-
niable that Indian doctors and the country’s holistic health-
care services are globally recognised and the overall cost of
care that they deliver is also much lower than what exists in
the USA or Europe.
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