17 Nov 2021

Why is Health Care Affordable in India?

Post by uday patel

That’s a big question mark since the Nation is bracketed as a third-world country and a developing economy. Though this mars the country’s image somewhat, the burgeoning middle class and ever-growing list of billionaires constitute a significant other.  Indian economy comprises layers of commercial grades, and one cannot define it using a single label. Moreover, the country is scaling height in all industrial and services sectors. Health-related developments are not a recent phenomenon. The five thousand years old civilization was steeped deep in the quest for excellence in the health of mind, body, and spirit.  

Indian Hospital care
A middle-aged man, feeding an old woman patient in the hospital.

The Social Architecture

Co-existence is essential for all the layers of society, and this creates a sort of financial syncretism which has given rise to a shared value system. Growth and development are part of a coherent policy where all spheres of life in India focus. Thus, integrating the long-term growth perspective into the global economy, even after the pandemic growth is forecasted as very high.      

Conversely, there is an effort to rationalize consumption patterns, restrain social ladders, and keep the scale of expenditure in check.  This has led to the cost of living being much lower than that compared with the developed world.  Moreover, frugality dominates our ethos, which is responsible for cost-saving systems prevailing all over the industry, not only in health care. The 3-tier system reaches down the line to remote villages to cover maximum people under the health care programs.

Greater focus has been placed on education, particularly health education, since independence. As a result, a large number of learning and training facilities have been established pan India. This fulfills the constant gaps pertaining to skilled surgeons and doctors for a fast-growing medical infrastructure in the country. Moreover, this enables us to deliver on a vast spectrum of diseases in multispecialty chains, which help economize as one-stop solutions.

Accredited Hospitals for Quality Control

The quality council of India (QCI) has set up NABH, an acronym for National Accreditation Board for Hospitals. Another common accreditation for our hospitals is the US-based JCI or Joint Commission International. There are 36 JCI and over 350 NABH accredited hospitals in our country, which vindicates quality control. 

Comparison with Developed Countries

Salaries are lower here, but that is one of the reasons for low-cost treatments. However, before comparisons, we should know the currency difference whereby 1 USD averages 74 INR.   

A private hospital surgeon in India earns on average, 40,000 USD per year. In comparison, his counterpart in the US would receive USD 2,50000 per annum. A hospital general physician makes approximately 13000 USD in a year in India while his counterpart in the US gets USD 200,000 on average.   Also, when considering a minuscule expenditure like the consultation fee, the difference between the two countries averages around 100 USD higher in American hospitals. This colossal salary difference is self-explanatory as regards low-cost treatments here. 

The wages of line management, including nurses and allied staff, are much lower than in the US, and this tip the scale further in our favor. The break-even point of hospitals and clinics is much lower here. To be competitive among countries focused on medical travel, we have to outdo many European and APAC countries. 

Complex Maxillofacial Surgery Costs:

  • UK – 20,000 pounds
  • Netherlands – 20000 $
  • Australia – 20000 $
  • Malaysia – 14000 $
  • Singapore – 10000 $

The above cost does not include travel, food, and accommodation. In India, a complex maxillofacial surgery cost averages 5000 US Dollars. The country has well-equipped dental clinics staffed by highly skilled and experienced maxillofacial surgeons and orthodontists. 

Affordable but not Cheap

Even if you level the salary scales prevailing in the US, India’s cost of medical treatments is much lower. This does not boil down to low-quality services and procedures. A yearly growth rate of 30 percent cannot be achieved without favorable medical outcomes.

Compared with hospitals and clinics in most developed countries, the country’s health care establishment comprises simpler architecture and interiors without frills. But again, this does not point towards low-quality delivery, and the equipment standards are no less than those of its five-star designed competitors.

The modus operandi is what makes the day-to-day operation cost-effective. For example, in India, doctors and surgeons receive fixed salaries despite having to toil much more than their western counterparts. As a comparison, a surgeon in a developed country would perform one or two surgeries per day while its counterpart here would end up with more than five to six surgical invasions.

Most professionals deliver services in establishments based in major towns where state-of-the-art equipment and facilities are installed. On the other hand, these establishments cater to smaller facilities in remote confines with basic set-ups, which add to the bulk of the business. Thus, significant investment is centered around few facilities served by a wider audience thanks to efficient networking. This also facilitates optimum use of equipment in hospitals of major towns.   

With chains down the line in smaller towns, the patients benefit from the wider choice. Generally, hospitals and clinics in smaller cities are less expensive. Even top of the rung medical establishments are situated in the smaller towns, which manage costs better than those in the metros. Thus, a little further away, you get the same treatments at a lesser price. This is instrumental in attracting overseas patients, some of whom are drawn to the serenity and quiet of remote confines.

Medical Tourism in India attracts dual-purpose travelers who combine a holiday with recuperation at medical centers. At very few places in the World, low-cost treatment with efficacious outcomes is available, as in this country.   

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