A good number of countries provide the facility of knee replacements in their hospitals and clinics. These centers are spread all over the country or, in some cases, limited to major towns and capitals.
The need is domestic, but the activity is enhanced by the arrival of patients from other countries. This augmentation is also known as medical tourism, which attracts many arrivals for various surgical and therapeutic treatments. A reputed health care system is the primary reason for seeking health solutions abroad, but the sector depends upon many factors.
Factors that Govern Medical Tourism Globally
Few factors come into play that motivates patients to cross borders or oceans for medical solutions in other countries.
There is a long waitlist for treatments in some countries, while the quality services and facilities might not be up to the desired standards in others. Distance may be another factor since the cost of travel does matter even if the cost of treatment is less. The lower middle class cannot cover the cost of travel, stay, and subsequent trips overseas; hence they prefer the domestic facilities despite low success rate and poor service.
Unfamiliarity with country characteristics vis a vis culture, language, religious ethos, and the political situation may discourage people from traveling to these destinations for replacement procedures. On the contrary, tourism prospects might help some countries in attracting those seeking treatment on trips abroad.
Joint replacement, especially knee replacement, forms the bulk of medical tourism in India. With health infrastructure spread wide all over the country and that which conforms to international standards, across the border communities are finding it quite conducive for health care solutions here. The cost is the winning factor, but there is much more behind the success. We must also consider the ease of international travel and the cost of accommodation in the preferred destinations.
But substantial movement takes place in developed countries where medical costs are prohibitive.
Global Popularity of Health Care Services in Developed Nations
Here we must also consider the difference between the cost of treatment in private hospitals and public facilities. In most countries, public hospitals will not be up to the mark, albeit cheaper. Secondly, they may be available only for the domiciles, and insurance and the waitlist factors apply in the case of Government facilities. Hence, we calculate overseas treatment costs based on private hospital services.
Despite being one of the most expensive countries for medical treatments, many people prefer the USA. The quality of medicine and health care infrastructure is not a question, and neither is the expense involved, which is high.
The main attractions are the high standards of research and development that prevail in the USA. There is a greater certainty of the latest methodology and pharmaceutical development taking place here. The research and developmental aspects draw a large of people seeking medical facilities to these Nations. Political stability and ease of travel impress international travel, although food and accommodation are much higher. We must also consider the cost of medicines and diagnostics, both of which are expensive.
The cost of total knee replacement (TKR) in hospitals of some developed countries are stated below:
• USA – 40,000 USD plus
• UK – Over 10,000 Pounds
• Israel – USD 30,000
• Singapore – 17000 USD
• France over 8500 Euro
• Denmark 10,000 plus Euro
• Belgium 9000 plus Euro
• Australia AUD 30,000
• India USD 6600
India fares much better, with costs ranging up to 6600 USD at the highest. There are many quality hospitals in the country that offer TKR for much less without sacrificing quality and service. Most of the countries in APAC provide TKR at a much lower cost but not less than India.
The cost stated above for India stands at USD 6600, but this includes luxuries and treatment at big chain hospitals in the metros. On the other hand, equally excellent and successful total knee replacement would cost much less at many hospitals in major cities providing quality international services.
To facilitate medical tourism Indian Government is going all out. A particular ministry looks after the promotion of health care services to attract foreigners for treatment here. Although things have come to a standstill in pandemic times, the country plans to boost medical tourism as a business. It also incentivizes some activities to augment its health infrastructure with the increase in foreign exchange. The benefit trickles down to institutions involved in research and development besides the hospitals and clinics lined across the country.
Post-Covid 19, many overseas patients are expected to arrive to benefit from the country’s health care systems and that too at a much lower cost.