Outsourcing legacy upgrades knees, hips, Heart to India

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Computerworld recently wrote a now familiar story by now"Outsourcing legacy upgrades -- knees, hips, looks -- to India: " about how "Rising medical cost has been helping to foster medical tourism for lower cost.International visitors, particularly from the US are traveling to Indian to get their Knee and Hip Replacements done and are going back to US by spending almost 50% of what they they would have paid in US Hospitals.

Take the case of Terry,(name changed) a public school teacher in Texas, went to India in June for cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin after a major weight loss. The cost of this surgery in the U.S. was somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 and not covered by her insurance carrier.

Instead, Terry contacted her travel agent who connected her with BridgeHealth International inc., in Greenwood Village, Co., one of number of firms that arrange overseas medical treatment. Costa Rica or Mexico was closer, but Terry, an experienced traveler, had never been to India and so the decision was made."

U.S insurers are beginning to test programs to pay for elective medical work overseas. The incentive for patients may include elimination of deductibles and travel for a spouse, as well as paying the cost of hotel and travel.

In these insurance programs, the operative words are "non-emergency" and "cost-effective," according to Dr. Virginia Cardin, a senior healthcare consultant with Frost & Sullivan. The latter involves measuring immediate outcomes and required follow-up care that would be done in the U.S.

India's medical tourism industry may benefit in a number of ways, some direct and some indirect, from U.S. IT offshore outsourcing.

For one, the expertise that offshore firms acquire in upgrading hospital systems can be applied to Indian environments. Increasing familiarity by U.S. residents with India may help as well.

It's also possible that IT outsourcing in India and elsewhere may make some companies comfortable with the idea of offering medical tourism as an employee option.

A 2008 US survey by audit firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu found that 40% of US respondents were willing to travel abroad for treatment if the quality was comparable and savings were 50% or more. India had nearly 450,000 medical visitors last year and average medical costs were at 20% of that in the US, the report showed.

“India has good medical infrastructure and is also culturally more amenable to having guests who can be treated,” says consultant P.R. Srinivas of Deloitte. “The waiting time for patients is also far less than in some developed countries.”

However most medical tourism hospitals in India would tell you, that Outsourcing to Indian Hospitals is much more than merely costs savings. Most International medical travelers who have come to India are often pleasantly surprised by the quality of care at Leading Corporate Indian Hospitals.

Although the cost factor might be a big factor initially on deciding on the destination,but the real clincher on why India is much sought after among medical tourism destination is "about the quality of care"which an International patient experiences when they are in their hospital beds.

Its important for everyone connected to the healthcare industry to understand that in the long term, its going to be the quality of care,including the nursing staff,the doctors ,the immediacy of care, post rehab, infection control and all the support staff that are involved in care giving process to an International patient which are responsible in making the stay of an international medical traveler a much better experience.


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