Luxury hotels and their bouquet of services is not new, but hospitals offering luxury services just like five star hotels is for sure a buzz. The medical care sector in India has entered a realm of opulence by combining the best of healthcare and hospitality services. Luxury wards in hospitals are well equipped with 24-hour coffee shops, ATMs, bookshops, well maintained visiting lounge, and business centres.
‘Money makes the mare go’ is an apt proverb to explain the situation. Wealthy patients get the best of services and the best doctors in fully furnished luxury suites laced with technology. The suites, not rooms, are fitted with LED, AC, sparkling clean washroom, king-size bed and WiFi connection. The staff becomes much courteous and well-dressed as compared with the staff in a “normal” hospital.
Let us have a look at some of the popular five star like hospitals in India.
The Max Healthcare at Saket has a Café Coffee Day, Book Café, Subway, Prayer Room and Whole Foods Cafeteria inside its premises. VIP deluxe rooms come with accommodation for attendant and have well equipped kitchen and attached bathroom. In case the patient needs DVD players and laptops, he or she can have these on rent.
The Escort Heart Institute and Research Centre at Okhla road has well furnished and air-conditioned waiting lounge for men and women and a dedicated lounge just for women. Visitors can print their own pass in touchscreen kiosks. The per day bill at the Presidential suite of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute is more than Rs. 75,000, and the bill is even higher if the patients go for the Maharaja and Maharani suites at the ‘7-star’ Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon. The cost of heart surgery increases almost threefold in presidential suite as compared with private room. The Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) in Gurgaon calls itself the ‘next generation’ hospital and ‘Mecca of health care’. Apart from all the facilities, there is one very unique and unusual addition to hospital, that is 36-seat cinema hall to screen the movies. The management is putting efforts to lighten the mood of patients and the persons who accompany them.
The cost of one suite in Fortis La Femme in South Delhi is approximately Rs. 37,000 per night. The Seven Hill hospital that is famous for its celebrity visitors like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who gave birth to her child in this hospital costs Rs 20,000 per suite per day, excluding medical charges.
The Indraprastha Apollo Hospital offers a Platinum Lounge for its international guests. Wealthy patients can book a suite having a living room and bedroom, with attached bathroom and kitchen. Expect a la carte meals as the chef for luxury suite at Apollo is an ex-chef from a Caribbean cruise ship.
With medical facilities as a backbone, the five-star hospitals in India consider luxury services necessary to create a congenial atmosphere and to act as stress busters. According to them, it results in speedy recovery of the patient.
The rise in the demand for luxury hospitals in India is due to an increasing trend in medical tourism. Patients from all across the world flock to India for treatment. With such a setting, they feel at home and at ease. Keeping the language barrier in mind, big hospitals also provide the facility of an interpreter.
Foreigner patients get medical facilities at low cost in India as compared with developed countries like the US. This justifies the net payable bill of luxury hotels, which probably seems less when compared with other countries. A liver transplant in the US costs Rs. 2 crore whereas the same thing in India is done for Rs. 30 lakh in these luxury hospitals.
As per estimates by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), medical tourist inflow in India would rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40%. This would take the figures to 3.2 million by 2015.
Though medical services in India are in budding stage in comparison to the US and the Middle East countries, India is adopting the best practices to match the international quality, leading to growth of luxury hospitals in India.