International-class add-ons a must to top hospitals
Apr 25, 2006 - 8:32:37 PM
With India firmly establishing itself as a medical tourism destination, top hospitals here are offering facilities hitherto found in only upmarket hotels - travel desks, multi-cuisine menus, translators and the like.
"An international travel desk is one of the prime requirements of a hospital servicing foreign patients," said Karan Thakur of the Indraprastha Apollo hospital here.
With the Indian medical tourism industry expanding at the rate of 20 to 30 percent every year, super-specialty hospitals here are increasingly becoming more sensitive to the needs and requirements of foreigners who come here to take advantage of the cost-effective medical facilities on offer.
Thus top hospitals like Apollo and Sir Ganga Ram here are providing travel facilities akin to the best offered by the hotel industry.
Patients and their families are not just assured of a pleasant and comfortable experience throughout their stay, the hospitals arrange for everything they need from the time they arrive in India till they board their flight home.
From airport pickups and drops to making available language translators, hospitals even arrange accommodation for patients' families.
"We arrange for translators as many of the patients or their families have difficulty in communicating in English," said Mohammad Akmal, Apollo's assistant manager for international marketing.
Some hospitals also take care of the visa and forex requirements of foreign tourists.
"We have been helping our foreign patients by providing them money exchange facility," said S.K Sama, chairman of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Multi-cuisine facilities are available in almost all big hospitals.
"The facilities we provide here are no less than a five-star hotel. It's the requirement of the age and we have to keep pace with it," Sama added.
"Some hospitals are even running their own air ambulance services," said Sohail Kadri, an agent with Akbar Travels in Gujarat that caters to tourists coming to super-specialty hospitals located in Ahmedabad.
"This also gives hospitals the ability to evacuate injured foreign tourists from adventure sports and trekking sites and transport them to a hospital," he added.
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