Friday June 22, 2018

Medical online startups attracting foreign patients to India

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Image source: keweenawhealth.com

New Delhi: India, ‘the pharmacy of the developing world’, sees foreign patients flocking to the country due to its specialised and cost-effective medical care. This has resulted in the mushrooming of online startups that help foreign nationals find the best treatment in the country.

One such medical tourism start-up, PlanMyMedicalTrip.com, which was started nine years back, is now serving as a one-stop solution provider for foreign medical tourists.

“We have patients coming in from all over the world. However, Africa, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) regions contribute towards the sector by as much as 30 percent of the total inflow,” said Anurav Rane, CEO, PlanMyMedicalTrip.com.

“There are a lot of different medical and surgical options for medical tourists coming to India. Primarily, medical tourists get elective procedures done such as cosmetic surgery, hip and knee replacements, dental procedures and infertility treatments,” he told reporters.

According to a white paper by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Grant Thornton, the Indian medical tourism market is set to touch $8 billion by 2020, up from the current $3 billion.

Saed Saber from Egypt recently came to India for knee replacement. “I wanted to get my knee replacement done but was confused as to how I should go about it. Since options in my country are limited with a high price tag for treatment, I started exploring for options, that is when I came to know about PlanMyMedicalTrip.com,” he said.

Saber visited PlanMyMedicalTrip.com to get his queries answered. “I got to know several options for hospitals across India and also got all the necessary procedures sorted for me in no time,” he told reporters.

IndiaHealthCareTourism.com, inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is an initiative by the government to boost healthcare tourism. It is a web portal that helps and guides the patients who are looking for treatment options in India. It lists 93 topmost medical centres, 30 Ayurveda and wellness centres and one special category centre.

Another online venture, Medi Connect India, deals with the latest technologies like IVF (infertility), robotics surgeries, stem cell therapies, etc.

“The main reason behind India becoming a hub for medical tourism for foreigners is cost-effectiveness. Here in metro cities, you would get world-class treatment under the best doctors in a much cheaper way than what they would end up paying in their respective countries,” Shalini, assistant team lead, Medi Connect India, told reporters.

“In countries like Africa, a lot of modern treatments and good doctors are not available and hence they find India a good destination for medical reasons. Here, the best treatments are available with no waiting time in the company of highly-qualified doctors,” she added.

Medi Connect India has won the “National Tourism Award” for two consecutive years for excellence in medical tourism.

To serve foreign nationals better, most of the top-rated hospitals in India have also hired language translators to make patients, especially from Balkan and African countries, feel comfortable and help facilitate their treatment.

According to the CII-Grant Thornton white paper, Chennai, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi-NCR are the most favoured medical tourism destinations for foreigners who avail treatments in India.

Cost is a major driver for nearly 80 percent of medical tourists across the globe, it added.

The cost factor and availability of accredited facilities have led to the emergence of several global medical tourism corridors like Singapore, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mexico and Costa Rica- and India appears to have taken a lead. (Vivek Singh Chauhan, IANS)

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Obesity And Smoking: Roadblocks In Arthritis Treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease

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Obesity And Smoking Becomes Roadblocks In Arthritis Treatment
Obesity And Smoking Becomes Roadblocks In Arthritis Treatment, Pixabay

Obesity in women and smoking among men could be major factors behind not achieving remission in rheumatoid arthritis, despite early treatment, researchers say.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects a person’s joints, causing pain and disability and can also affect internal organs.

The study showed that though early identification and aggressive treatment improve arthritis outcomes, six per cent of women and 38 per cent of men did not achieve remission in the first year despite receiving guideline-based care.

“Our results suggest that lifestyle changes — smoking cessation in men and weight reduction in women — as well as optimising methotrexate use may facilitate rapid reduction of inflammation, an essential goal of treatment in early rheumatoid arthritis,” said Susan Bartlett, professor of Medicine at McGill University in Canada.

The study, published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, included 1,628 adults with an average age of 55.

The analysis highlighted that obesity more than doubled the likelihood of not achieving remission in women.

obesity
obesity, Pixabay

In men, current smoking was associated with 3.5 greater odds of not achieving remission within the first year.

Further, almost all patients within the study were initially treated with conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (csDMARDs), with three quarters being treated with methotrexate.

Analysis demonstrated that not using methotrexate significantly increased the likelihood of not achieving remission in women by 28 per cent and in men by 45 per cent.

Also read: drug free compound can ease arthritis pain

“These results highlight the need to support physicians and empower patients to take advantage of the impact lifestyle changes can have on disease progression,” Johannes Bijlsma, President, European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), said in a statement. (IANS)