A renowned Indian heart sur­geon is cur­rently building a 2,000-bed, inter­na­tion­ally accred­ited “health city” in the Cayman Islands, a short flight from the U.S. Its ser­vices will include ter­tiary care pro­ce­dures, such as open-​​heart surgery, angio­plasty, knee or hip replace­ment, and neu­ro­surgery for about 40% of U.S. prices. Patients will have the option of recu­per­ating for a week or two in the Cay­mans before returning to the U.S.

At a time when health care costs in the United States threaten to bank­rupt the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, U.S. hos­pi­tals would do well to take a leaf or two from the book of Indian doc­tors and hos­pi­tals that are treating prob­lems of the eye, heart, and kidney all the way to mater­nity care, ortho­pe­dics, and cancer for less than 5% to 10% of U.S. costs by using prac­tices com­monly asso­ci­ated with mass pro­duc­tion and lean production.

The nine Indian hos­pi­tals we studied are not cheap because their care is shoddy; in fact, most of them are accred­ited by the U.S.-based Joint Com­mis­sion Inter­na­tional or its Indian equiv­a­lent, theNational Accred­i­ta­tion Board for Hos­pi­tals. Where avail­able, data show that their med­ical out­comes are as good as or better than the average U.S. hospital.

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