Kolkata versus Kochi for medical tourism?

#1 Jul 4th, 2016, 16:21
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  • Peterjones is offline
#1
Firstly, context: I am an experienced Asia traveller who gets almost all medical care overseas in Asia. The reason I do not get most medical services in my home country is because in Canada there is a monopoly health care system run by the State, with few options. Plus, Kuala Lumpur is my home base.

The reason I am coming to India is because the ten-year multi-entry visa makes it easy now, English is rarely a problem, and medical care can be world class (and better value than Vietnam and Malaysia, with none of the language problems of Thailand). I am 60 and on a low budget.

I was about to fly Air Asia to Kochi (cheapest destination from KL) but reconsidered because of the higher price of accommodation (correct me if I am wrong - I don't remember *any* metro except New Delhi as being good value-- which is why I always get out of big cities areas as soon as I can.

Kochi, and Kerala in general, looks a bit 'la dee dah', I mean touristic, in both positive and negative ways. Mind you, my last visit to Kerala (to one of the most reputable Ayurvedic hospitals) was mostly positive compared to West Bengal. For better or worse, Kolkata reminds me of Dhaka where I spent two months. South India in general, and I do not mean just Goa, seems higher standard in every way.

Anyway, time for at least three sets of tests (cardiac, neurological and general) due to pre-existing conditions.

Kochi has a heart hospital, Kolkata has several. I am of the opinion that, for other than emergency care, its is better value to go to second and even third tier hospitals. For example, for basic scans and checkups there is no need to go where the PM and Chief Ministers get their surgeries. When in Vietnam I went to the government-run (?) Hanoi Heart Hospital and for a fraction of the cost of a check up in Thailand I got all the basics. However, while the cardiologist spoke much better English than I speak Vietnamese, the written report was in Vietnamese. Not so useful. In Saigon I found a small suburban hospital with a sale on in general checkups. I had to negotiate because they tried to steer me to the luxury version which was exactly the same tests but with fancy chairs!

In my experience in Southeast Asia, and I presume the same is true for India, the best way to hunt for deals is to read the local newspapers and scour the internet for promotions. However, the packages usually include a lot of unrelated and unnecessary tests, with none of the more expensive blood tests and scans. Typically 'a la carte' check ups are not advertised. In fact, I have found in India, it rather slow and the administration reticent when I ask for prices, so I can frankly compare in advance. Thailand is superior in this way, you ask for prices you get told without ambiguity or delay. Obviously, it depends but I mean price range.

I am unlikely to go to Apollo and their ilk, unless they appear to have something fabulously less invasive.

Additional advantages I see of KOL is it is the gateway to the N.E, where I have never been. The only disadvantage I can think of is I found Kolkata grubby and lacking a huge number of vegetarian food choices compared to Mumbai.

Experienced opinions?
#2 Jul 11th, 2016, 17:32
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  • JOHNLORD is offline
#2
I think one of the better hospitals for cardiac matters is LISIE HOSPITAL in Kochi. The reports are in English and the doctors are first class.

As usual let me say I do not have any vested interest in recommending this place.
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#3 Jul 11th, 2016, 17:44
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Let me start from the end of your post - Yes, KOL does have relatively less number of veg. food options as compared to Mumbai, but then you will be eating only in a few of those right? I don't think that should be an issue in KOL if veg is your criteria.

Coming to the main part - Kochi vs KOL. I would recommend Kochi as a place, you could check to where Johnlord suggests. The reason I suggest Kerala/ Kochi is that people in Kerala are more aware of their health status in general and do ask for more modern/ updated setups and tests. They are willing to pay for the same and hence the hospitals are willing to invest in maintaining an updated facility and pay for good doctors..
As for KOL, its more of the masses than classes over there. Not that good hospitals are not existing over there, but you may have to check and select to not be mislead there, as against in Kochi where in general the standards are higher.
If you just need the standardized tests, then you could check online for many health packages being offered with discounts (many sites like upto75.com amongst others could help). These are often from standard labs and should fit your requirement. If you get something on these lines, then KOL or Kochi doesn't matter. If you need consultation as well with the tests (usually a requirement for interpretation) and want to go in for intervention if required, then Kochi would be better IMHO.
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#4 Jul 12th, 2016, 00:07
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I ended up choosing Kolkata mostly due to reasons nothing to do with medical tourism (it is the gateway to Sikkim, my real destination).

What I find curious is when I investigate entries on sites like Practo and spend hours selecting who looks to be the best doctors, I could actually save my time reading all the details and just look at two things - 1) how much do they charge (higher is better);2) at which hospital(s) do they practice? The two are intimately connected.

The man who has 30 years experience in his specialty, won awards, goes to conferences in UK, is very highly rated, and works at prestige hospitals? Well, he is going to charge 2-3X what a 'nobody' charges. And a top specialist at say Apollo Gleneagles or Columbia Asia, is going to be available there only one day a week for two hours, not Mon-Sat 10 am to 7 pm like some schmuck in the suburbs. Exceptions? Only prove the rule.

Supply and demand -- big surprise.
#5 Jul 12th, 2016, 10:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterjones View Post ...a 'nobody' charges...

...some schmuck ....
This does enlighten me about your experience and knowledge about the medical field..
Sorry to have given my ignorant views..
Best luck with your journey.
#6 Jul 12th, 2016, 11:11
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  • aarosh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterjones View Post I ended up choosing Kolkata
Moderator Note:

Since the city is decided, this thread is closed.

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