An independent patient-advocate can guide an overseas guest to the right destination
In 2010, over five million patients travelled to other parts of the globe in search of better health care. The growth of medical tourism is driven by two factors:
Steep rise in the medical costs in developed countries and
Improved health care infrastructure and better healthcare standards in developing nations.
A favourable currency exchange is a major driver for medical tourists. Each dollar spent in Indian fetches more value for a healthcare consumer than is possible in the US. In terms of infrastructure, many hospitals in Asia are now equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment. Their doctors and surgeons have received their training in the best medical universities across the world. India is also home to some of the most fascinating holiday options in the world. Since resting and relaxing are important ways of recuperating after a surgery, what can be better than clubbing medical tourism with luxury travel and patient advocacy?
Recognising the huge business opportunity in this field, governments, large hospitals and doctors are flooding the medical tourism market with attractively packaged deals and services, making the final choice of a hospital extremely difficult for a patient. This is where an independent patient advocate can be of service to an overseas patient. He can impartially advise the patient on what hospital to choose for a particular procedure, so that they do not get swayed by their misleading marketing hype. He can educate the traveller on what costs to expect; who the specialists in each field are; help them get appointments expeditiously and guide them on where to stay and how to follow-up after the procedure is completed.
Indian culture has always laid get stress on treating visitors as respected guests. Medical tourists require a lot of hand holding, and patient advocates are well-equipped to meet their needs.
The above is an extract from Dr.Aniruddha Malpani's book : Patient Advocacy - Giving Voice to Patients
The book launch will take place on Saturday, 16 November 2013 at Hall of Harmony, Nehru Center, Worl, Mumbai - 400018 during the 4th Annual Putting Patients First Conference.