A significant number of Bengali patients prefer to be treated in South India, Mumbai or Delhi. This may not be a very unusual trend, as Bangladeshi and Bhutanese patients prefer Kolkata for treatment and some of Mumbai’s wealthy families prefer First World countries. This medical tourism trend was severely impacted during the Covid era.
Using the example of cancer treatment, according to the state government, around 25 percent of cancer patients from Bengal visit the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Mumbai, for treatment. This trend and the preference for outpatient treatment is definitely worth discussing.
A lack of trust, credibility, high costs, infrastructural deficits and deficiencies in the quality of care are the most common reasons for patients to leave Bengal. However, in the past few decades there has been a significant improvement in health care facilities in both the government and corporate sectors. There are now many centers in Bengal that meet national standards. However, the mindset of ordinary people is most important in this regard. Everyone wants the best treatment at a reasonable price.
The behavior and approach of health workers in Bengal appear neither friendly nor appropriate compared to other countries. Some health professionals fail to realize that they are doing patients a disservice, it is their duty. Here, too, there may be a lack of appropriate training.
When comparing treatment and facilities between Bengal and other states, the comparison must be made on an equal footing, such as: B. Corporate Hospitals with Corporate Hospitals and State Hospitals with State Hospitals. Otherwise, ordinary people may develop misunderstanding and apathy about some institutions. In general, government hospitals are charities, while corporate hospitals are business enterprises with the intent of welfare.
Institutions like AIIMS, Delhi, TMH, Mumbai or CMC, Vellore, have the credibility and brand value to attract patients from all over the country. The first two are government hospitals while the third is a non-government facility. Treatment in such facilities has significant advantages. There is no need to choose the doctor like in the private sector. The facilities offer trained staff and high-quality infrastructure under one roof. Complete and high quality treatment is guaranteed on a campus. The treatment costs are also reasonable. The hospitals have excellent websites and e-consultation facilities are usually available.
However, those who travel to these facilities from far away must also be aware of other aspects. Because of patient overload there is always a waiting list. A patient waiting for cancer surgery may have to wait two or three months before the disease has progressed significantly.
In general, the treatment is usually time consuming compared to the corporate sector. Sufficient staff must be kept ready for crisis situations.
Although the cost of treatment is reasonable, staying in a metropolis for a long time is expensive. Also, different doctors may meet the patient on different days and it can be difficult to communicate with the head of the unit what the patients want.
Those in need of long-term treatment such as cancer treatment may not be able to stay there for eight or nine months to complete therapy due to logistical and cost reasons. Patients are dependent on the local doctors in their home town, who are sometimes reluctant to accept such cases, as the treatment and outcome responsibility lies with the treating facility. Doctors on site fear that they could be blamed for a bad result. Shared responsibility, unavailability, and unavailability during the crisis are a problem for patients who are treated in other states once they return home.
Individual vs. Institution
The key factor in treating patients is not only quality care, but also full responsibility. Those being treated in other states must work with local doctors to get the best results. Bengal differs from many other states in that many ordinary people are still dependent on individual doctors and trust them more than the institutions. A few people have even outgrown the institutions with their performance, skill and truthfulness. However, it is the individuals who form the institutions.
Many outstation corporate hospitals have information centers as part of their business strategy. It is always better to contact hospitals directly rather than relying on agents whose credentials are in doubt. Information about Apex institutions is best available on their websites. Cancer patients also have the choice between treatment in a cancer hospital or the oncology department of a corporate hospital with a multi-specialty backup. The choice of institutions or individual doctors is a very personal decision.
The success of online and distance learning programs has given hope to many, but distance medical treatment is not an attractive option. The right choice must be made early on. The decisions cannot be based on emotions alone as there are many practical questions.
The post-Covid era will certainly open up new opportunities for everyone.