A hospital’s website plays a vital role in attracting potential offshore patients. Dr Sujit Chatterjee, CEO, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, Mumbai speaks how they have managed to increase the flow of medical tourists to their hospital with the help of an informative website, in conversation with Raelene Kambli
What is your general opinion about medical tourism?
India is a country that is gradually taking its place with the best of best in the field of healthcare. While certain high-end sophistication may be lacking, the medical expertise and treatment modality is of extremely high order. Thus it is only natural that there is a magnetic draw for people to come to our country looking for treatment. While those who massively advertise may get a larger share there are the discerning who prefer to check online and engage with the hospital through emails, evaluate responses and choose to come across on their own depending on the hospital to look after them from end to end, i.e. from the time they reach the airport to depart to their parent country.
How many such patients do you cater to at your hospital on a yearly basis?
We have approximately 150 medical tourist patients treated at our hospital on an annual basis.
How do you plan to tap medical tourists for your hospital?
Offshore patients generally go online to scout for suitable hospitals in India. They primarily target the metros. A number of established healthcare brands promote their hospitals very agressively overseas as being the very best in the business. However, the offshore traveller is cautious and likes to do a thorough search. Thus, they log on to a number of leading hospitals who may not possibly consider marketing aggressively for offshore patients. They also scan for the infrastructure, the accolades, the initiatives and also ‘happiness quotients’ (various forms of co-curricular activities that the hospital engages in). They generally have a mental perception of what the hospital should look and feel like, the staff as well as what is mentioned about the various activities that the hospital engages in. Once the mental perception they have and what they see on the website is similar, they generally tend to choose the healthcare facility. So, we have an attractive and informative website that helps us attract offshore patients.
What kind of other infrastructure elements have you added within the hospital to attract medical tourist?
We have an infrastructure that compares with the best in the world. The operations theatres have the air-conditioning as recommended by the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers. The ICU has complete air separation from one to the other. The technology is frontline and the medical equipment is sourced from the world’s best vendors. The rooms and suites are incomparable. The rooms are capable of being monitored from the nursing station and also the ICU. When the prospective patient read about all this they get attracted.
What ,according to you, are the infrastructure requirements of medical tourists?
It’s about a holistic ambiance of the place. The Hiranandani Gardens itself is such an attraction. Tree line avenues, gardens, shopping, hotels and sparkling clean. This combined with the infrastructure of the hospital makes it a delight for the offshore patient.
Do you make special arrangements for relatives of such patients?
Yes. They are also accommodated in the room and can avail some complimentary services that the hospital offers.
You have mentioned about complimentary services for relatives of medical tourists. Can you elaborate on these services?
The hospital does not only focus on the patient but is also attentive to the accompanying attendant. To keep them occupied there are various initiatives that the hospital has started. Amongst the many, one which is more popular is the Department of Dermocosemtology where the attendant is given a free check as well as a facial which they highly appreciate.
How important are these aspects to keep such patients and their relatives happy?
Perception is very important for the offshore patient. Thus what they see on the website creates a perception. There is an expectation they come with. Hence, when that is delivered on ground they are very pleased.