Best hospitals in India


Best hospitals in India

India is among the largest countries in the world both by area and by population. Healthcare is one of the big sectors in India with a market size of 117 billion USD in 2017. India has more than 200,000 hospitals and about 120,000 registered doctors. Traditional medical streams like Ayurveda and Yoga are also practiced in the country under government registration. 

India is also one of the top destinations for medical travel. The main advantages of India as a destination are 

• Low cost of treatment

• Availability of highly skilled doctors 

• Large number of hospitals with top class facilities

Government run hospitals like All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, Tata Memorial Cancer hospital in Mumbai, NIMHANS count among the very best hospitals in India. Private sector also plays an important part in the healthcare/hospital industry in India. Some of the best private hospital groups in India are Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Hospitals, Manipal Hospital and Narayana Hospital. Almost all of the best hospitals in India have JCI and/or NABH accreditation. 

Selecting the right hospital in India for treatment can be a difficult process. Detailed study and/or professional advice can be useful especially for people outside India. As with most other things in life, there is no such thing as a best hospital. It all depends on your treatment needs, budget, location preference and comfort level. Having said that, there are few pointers that could help you decide on the right hospital.

1. Reputation of the hospital: Check online or with people you know in India about the hospital.

2. Certifications of the hospitals: Look for certifications like JCI or NABH which ensures a certain level of process standardization and service levels.

3. Location: Airport Connectivity is an important parameter, most of the cities in India have excellent air connectivity with all the major cities in the world. 

4. Facilities: These should normally be mentioned in the website, you should ask for it if you don’t see it there.

5. Skill level/experience of doctors: Always ensure that you ask for the profiles/biodata of the treating doctors. 

6. Quality of the treatment plan: Make sure that the treatment plan mentions the approximate cost, duration and details about the treatment.

7. Your interaction with the doctors: Wherever it is possible, talk to the doctor before you decide.

Once you have identified the hospital for the treatment, next steps are to fix the date and time for the treatment. If you are a foreigner travelling to India for medical treatment, it is best to apply for a medical visa. Hospitals can give a visa assistance letter which will make it easier to get the visa. You should also ensure that all arrangements are made upfront related to your accommodation, airport pickup and local travels wherever possible. 

Overview of Healthcare and Hospital sector in India:

Over the years, healthcare sector has become one of the largest sectors in India both by revenue and employment. The Indian healthcare sector size in 2017 was 117 billion USD and projected to reach 370 billion USD by 2022. The sector provides employment to 320,000 people making it the fourth largest employer by sector. Healthcare sector includes hospitals (public and private), medical devices and equipment, medical insurance and also medical tourism/medical travel industries. Healthcare industry is growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth) of around 23% over the last 5 years. India is expected to rank among the top 3 healthcare markets in terms of incremental growth by 2020. Increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases, demand for quality healthcare, growing health awareness are the key drivers for the growth. 

The hospital industry, public and private sector combined, accounts for almost 80% of the total healthcare sector in India. In year 2017, India had about 200,000 hospitals with approximately 110,000 registered doctors. Public healthcare is mostly free or subsidized for the poorer section of the people. Indians in the middle and upper-class economic section generally tend to use private sector hospitals. This is mainly due to the difference in quality of care and availability of better infrastructure in private hospitals. Private sector accounts for around 70% of the total hospitals, 40% of the total hospital beds and about 80% of the doctors in India. Both public and private sector hospitals have primary health centers or clinics and also secondary/tertiary care hospitals. However, it is quite common in India to go to a tertiary care hospital without a referral from primary care centers. Hospitals are also classified as single specialty or multi-specialty hospitals. Single specialty hospitals focus on providing treatment for a particular ailment of group of ailments. Examples of these include specialty cancer hospitals, heart hospitals, dental hospitals and fertility centers. Most of the major hospitals are multi-specialty hospitals providing treatment for all conditions and cases under one roof. The hospital industry in India is poised for an exponential growth with a forecast of 132 billion USD by 2022. Apart from modern medicine, hospitals specialized in traditional Indian medical streams like Ayurveda are also part of this sector.

Another key component that drives the hospital sector growth is medical tourism. Medical tourism or medical travel refers to people travelling to a different country for medical treatment. Indian medical travel market size is expected to be around 9 million USD by year 2020 thus making it a significant component in the hospital/healthcare sector.

List of the Best hospitals in India:

India is home to many highly reputed hospitals in the region. A list of the top hospitals across public and private sector are given below.

AIIMS: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi is considered amongst the very top hospitals in India. This is a public sector hospital with around 1700 beds with treatments across all specialties. The hospital is blessed with some of the best doctors in India, excellent infrastructure and research institute. It is also one of the most sought-after medical colleges in India for aspiring doctors.

CMC: Christian Medical college (CMC) situated in Vellore city in Tamilnadu state is a not for profit missionary hospital. The hospital has around 3000 beds with specialty departments for all types of ailments. CMC provides treatment at discounted rates to Indian nationals who are economically weak. Like AIIMS, CMC is also a top medical college in India attracting the brightest students of medicine.

Tata Memorial Hospital: Tata Memorial is a government run hospital in Mumbai city which specializes in cancer care. This hospital is considered amongst the very best cancer hospitals in the India. Around 70% of the treatments done here are almost free of charge. The hospital has more than 1000 people visiting every day for diagnosis, treatment and consultations.

Apollo Hospitals: Apollo Hospitals is the largest private sector hospital chain in India. The group has multi-specialty hospitals across all major Indian cities. These hospitals are all fully equipped with the latest infrastructure and equipment for all kinds of medical treatments.

Fortis Hospitals: Fortis Hospitals is another large private sector hospital group in India. Fortis hospitals are also present in all the major cities across India. The group includes Fortis Escorts heart institute which is considered amongst the best heart hospitals in India.

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital: KDAH (Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital) is a private sector hospital in Mumbai. The hospital is part of the Reliance group which is one of the largest business houses in India. An expansive campus, state of the art infrastructure and facilities and the presence of some of the very best doctors in the region puts this hospital among the best hospitals in India.

NIMHANS: National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) is a government run hospital in Bangalore specialized in mental health and neurosciences. The hospital is spread across 135 acres in the heart of Bangalore city. The state-of-the-art facilities coupled with highly skilled doctors and technicians make NIMHANS a true centre of excellence in its specialized area.

Manipal Hospitals is one of India's foremost multi-specialty healthcare providers catering to both Indian and international patients. The hospital is a part of the Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), a leader in the areas of education and healthcare.

Narayana Health: Narayana Health is a chain of multi-specialty hospitals across the country. The headquarters is in Bangalore where is there also Narayana Health city which houses several specialty and super specialty centers in one campus. This hospital group was founded by world renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty.

In addition to the modern medicine hospitals mentioned above, there are few highly reputed Ayurveda hospitals. Few of the best Ayurveda hospitals in India are listed below for reference. All these hospitals follow the Kerala Ayurveda treatment approach.

Arya Vaidya Sala:  Arya Vaidya Sala located in Kottakkal town in Kerala is a renowned Ayurveda hospital with around 200 beds. The hospital, which was established in year 1902, offers classical Kerala Ayurvedic medicines and authentic treatments to patients.

Vaidyaratnam Nursing Home: Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda home is situated in Thrissur, Kerala. The hospital is managed by Thaikattusserry Thaikkattu mana family. This family is one of the original eighteen Ashtavaidyas of Kerala Ayurveda. 

Sreedhareeyam Ayurvedic Eye hospital and Research Center: Sreedhareeyam is an Ayurveda Eye hospital located in Koothattukulam near Cochin in Kerala. The hospital specializes in eye treatments using Ayurveda.

Standard of hospitals in India:

Healthcare is a state subject in India which means that the controls and processes can differ from state to state. This could mean difference in quality standard enforcement across states. However, almost all of the best hospitals in India are certified/accredited by JCI or NABH.

JCI (Joint Commission International) accreditation:

JCI is considered the gold standard in global healthcare. JCI has a defined process to identify, evaluate and to share the best practices and process in healthcare quality and patient safety around the world. In order to do this, there are 2 established panels/councils within JCI. Standards Advisory Panel defines the best practices and guides the development and revision process of the JCI accreditation standards. This panel comprises of expert doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and healthcare policy experts. Standards Advisory Panel has representatives from all the major geographical regions around the world. The recommendations of this panel are further refined and reviewed by an international team of healthcare experts. The second panel of JCI is the Regional Advisory Councils in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa. These councils work closely with the health ministries and related government agencies of the countries in their respective regions. Their objective is to evaluate and improve the health care quality and patient safety in their respective regions.

As of December 2019, there are 39 JCI accredited hospitals in India

NABH Accreditation:

National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare providers (NABH) is a constituent board of the Quality Council of India. Established in 2005 as an autonomous body, NABH is the principal accreditation for hospitals in India. The board is supported by stakeholders from the industry, government and consumers. NABH is an Institutional Member, Board member and member of the Accreditation Council of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (lSQua). In addition, NABH is also on the board of Asian Society for Quality in Healthcare (ASQua). 

As of December 2019, there are 669 NABH accredited hospitals in India. 

In addition to hospitals, NABH also has an accreditation program for other healthcare providers. These include blood banks, primary health centers, nursing excellence centers, medical laboratories and also medical travel companies like INDHEAL. Some of the very best Ayurveda hospitals in India are also accredited by NABH.

These certifications and accreditations like JCI and NABH give a definite, ready-made and well proven set of processes and procedures. Hospitals benefit greatly by following these guidelines as it results in better patient management, patient safety and thus overall patient satisfaction. International patients especially find it easier to choose hospitals with JCI and/or NABH accreditation as it guarantees a certain set of proven methods.

Main healthcare locations in India 

Almost all of the best hospitals in India are concentrated in the top cities. 74% of the doctors in India are in urban locations. The top healthcare locations in India are

New Delhi: Located in the northern part of India, New Delhi is the capital city of India and is also the most popular healthcare location. The city has direct flights from most of the major world cities. This makes New Delhi an attractive destination for medical travelers also.  

Mumbai: This is the capital city of the state of Maharashtra which is in the western part of India. Mumbai is also known as the financial capital of India. The city is also home to many renowned hospitals.

Chennai: Located in the southern part of India, Chennai is the capital of Tamilnadu state. Chennai is also a very popular medical travel destination. The city is the favourite medical travel destination for people from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 

Bangalore: The capital of Karnataka state in south India, Bangalore is also known as the IT capital of India. Pleasant weather conditions throughout the year and the presence of many top hospitals and doctors is making Bangalore a much-preferred medical travel destination.

Kerala: The state of Kerala in south India is famous for many things including its diaspora and for the Ayurveda treatment. Kerala is the only place in India where the ancient Ayurveda tradition and links are still maintained. Cities in Kerala like Kochi (Calicut), Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and Kozhikode (Calicut) have also got modern medicine hospitals which are very popular among medical travelers from the Middle East region.

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