Strategies used by hospitals to surpass the recent slump in international business
1. Countries like Turkey, Jordon, Thailand, South Korea have become aggressive in promoting their countries as preferred healthcare destinations.
Indian MVT market didn’t grow to the expectations as it was projected last year due to some deterrents in some countries like recession in oil market, volatile currency situation in countries like Nigeria, excessive negative telecast of incidents like rapes in India and, of course, demonetisation.
Countries like Kenya and Bangladesh are opposing the outflow of patients to India for treatment needs. And, on the other hand, countries like Turkey, Jordon, Thailand, South Korea have become aggressive in promoting their countries as preferred healthcare destinations.
And also many patients still face some challenges in getting the medical visa on time from Indian embassies as compared to the other countries like Thailand, Korea and Turkey who offer visa on arrival.
Given the background of all these challenges,
we are looking at tapping the emerging markets and also conducting surgical camps. Usually, war-torn or civil war countries open up avenues for need of healthcare which has been seen in the past. So Middle East and CIS will open up few countries for medical value travel. The other aspect of MVT where we are trying to focus is conducting surgical camps with like-minded hospitals with good infrastructure but lack of skill sets to perform certain surgeries.
2. Hyderabad is fast emerging as one of the preferred medical travel destinations in India
As we are JCI accredited institute, many hospitals in the overseas markets prefer our surgeons to conduct surgical camps in their hospitals. The host hospital acquires all the permissions required from the medical council in their respective countries. In the long term it is win-win for both hospitals. We have just started these initiatives and the response has been quite encouraging. We will be taking up more of these projects with aspiring partners for different countries as we scale up our operations.
Hyderabad is fast emerging as one of the preferred medical travel destinations in India for people travelling from the Middle East, Africa and SAARC and Continental being one of the world-class facilities with state of the art infrastructure riding on this momentum. Currently, we have two information centres, one in Somalia and other one in Dhaka. We are working to have our footprint in the Middle East to run our OPD specialty services in our partner clinics and also surgical workshops especially in segments like plastic surgery and bariatrics. We have also been training young neuro surgeons from East Africa on newer subjects like stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic radiotherapy which are non-invasive procedures in nature and are much appreciated by many clinicians in the region. We are also trying to tap the pain management segment which is growing fast internationally.
Gokul Prem Kumar is head - international business, Continental Hospitals, Hyderabad.