Top 10 Healthcare Systems
Written by Pooja Thakkar
1. Hong Kong
The list is quite surprising considering European and Asian countries fill most of the spots with U.S. nowhere to be found among the ten health systems; reinvigorating the fact that it is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but unfortunately it is not the healthiest.
According to Bloomberg, each country in the list was ranked on two basic criteria- life expectancy and per capita cost of health care. Countries were scored on each criterion which was totaled to obtain their efficiency scores.
Boasting world’s longest-living populations, Hong Kong undoubtedly tops the list of best destinations in the world providing reliable, affordable healthcare.
Despite being considered by some as having the freest economy in the world, Hong Kong's universal health care system involves heavy government participation which works to its advantage.
With a large network of public healthcare options and a growing range of private hospitals, both expatriates and locals can select where they want to receive healthcare and medical attention.
Public hospitals account for 90 percent of in-patient procedures, while the private options are mostly used by the wealthy.
Also, in schools all medical students are trained to use electronic medical records.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:3.8%
Delivery of excellent universal healthcare services in Singapore is achieved through the joint collaboration between government, individuals and employers.
Nationals are required to contribute a percentage of their monthly salary based on age to a personal fund for treatments and hospital expenditures. The government also provides a safety net to cover expenses.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:4.4%
The Japanese system involves universal health care and health insurance is mandatory, either through an employer-based system or through the national health care program. The patient has to accept the responsibility for 30% of cost, while the government pays the remaining 70%.
The country controls costs by setting flat rates for everything from medications to procedures, thus eliminating competition among insurance providers.
The services are provided through regional/public hospitals/ clinics and patients have access to any facility in hospitals.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:8.5%
Based more on the European model, the system is paid for mostly through income taxes. Even though Israelis pay much higher taxes than Americans, many who have received care under both prefer the Israeli system.
Most of the finances come from the government which ensures that the system is equitable and everybody has access.
Access to doctors on a regular basis is one of the advantages that the universal health care system offers in Israel.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:7.8%
The Spanish healthcare system is widely envied across Europe, and for right reason. Hospitals and clinics deliver modern facilities, low waiting times, exceptional consultations, referrals and treatments.
The general healthcare culture is extremely progressive throughout the country with the providers showing a caring attitude towards its citizens.
There are thousands of primary care clinics, even in small villages. Patients have a choice of doctors they can see as often as they like without co-payments and claims forms. Even the unemployed and illegal immigrants are treated.
Spain guarantees universal coverage and there are no out-of-pocket expenses — aside from prescription drugs.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:10.4%
Whether they choose public or private care, Italians receive quality health care while the central government provides regulatory assistance.
Italy’s National Health Service provides free or low-cost health care to all residents who contribute to social security and their families, along with university students and retirees. It also provides emergency care to all visitors, irrespective of nationality. Italian Doctors are some of the world’s most trained.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:10.4%
Australia provides universal coverage based on a public-private funding system.
The system, called Medicare, provides coverage and free treatment at public hospitals to all citizens. At private hospitals government pays a majority of the bill (75%). Prescription drugs are subsidized and government provides a safety net for those who can’t pay the ~$20USD co-pay on prescriptions. Individuals are allowed to choose their doctors, or hospitals, public or private.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:8.9%
8. South Korea
Every Korean citizen living in Korea is automatically enrolled in the health insurance.
Korean patients almost never have to deal with any bureaucracy, since main exchange of paperwork happens between the doctor and the National Health Insurance Corporation. As long as the patients can pay the deductibles, they can visit any doctor in Korea.
The affordable nature of the careis partly due to a single-payer system, which significantly lowers the administrative cost.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:7.2%
In Switzerland, health care is guaranteed to all citizens.
Swiss citizens buy insurance directly from insurance companies; there are no employer-sponsored or government-run insurance programs. Hence, the process is transparent to the beneficiary. "Basic insurance" is defined by government and itsubsidizes health care for the poor on a graduated basis.
Insurance companies must provide basic insurance to all recipients and cannot deny coverage on the basis of poor health. Everyone’s premium is the same.
The Swiss also have access to the latest technology and comparably low wait times for appointments and procedures.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:11.5%
With its impressive array of new hospitals, plentiful supply of doctors, nurses and state-of-the-art medical technology, the healthcare system in Sweden is often used as a model by other countries.
Following a decentralized and tax payer funded system; Sweden is about providing healthcare services to all, irrespective of nationality and status.
The responsibility for health and medical care is shared by the central government, county councils and municipalities. Patients here enjoy the shortest hospital stays, compared to wealthier nations.
Healthcare cost-% GDP per capita:9.6%
Top 10 healthcare innovations for 2019
We take a look at some of the top 10 healthcare innovations which are transforming the sector
The telehealth market is booming. Consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles, with up to 60% favouring digitally-led services. Providing clinical care at a distance, increasing accessibility and eradicating potential delays has given patients greater control, boosting patient satisfaction and overall engagement. Such is its exponential growth, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the US has recently released its proposed Physician Fee Schedule and Qualified Payment Programme updates for 2019, where telehealth services has been heavily featured, in order to deliver ‘different access points’ for patients.
9. Mobile technology
Consumers have become accustomed to accessing their data through the use of various digital tools, where the use of mobile and tablet health apps has tripled from 13% in 2014 to 48% today. Catering to this growing market, British based start-up Babylon Health is making waves on a global scale. Partnering with the National Health Service (NHS) and private health provider, Bupa, it has also cemented its presence across the flourishing Chinese market, with a membership base exceeding 1.4mn citizens across Europe, Asia and Africa. By partnering with global juggernaut Tencent, Babylon’s artificial intelligence system has enabled both parties to interact directly with users, identify specific illnesses, deliver health status assessments, and triage necessary actions. The mobile app is available to over a billion users and linked to more than 38,000 medical facilities in China alone.
8. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) applications, such as predictive analytics for patient monitoring has provided significant financial savings. Applications that target hospitals and medical institutions include patient monitoring and transcribing notes for electronic health records (EHRs). The European Union is set to invest $24bn into artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020 in a bid to catch up with Asia and the US, who have invested heavily in AI and cloud services. This year, Google revealed its plans to harness AI and machine learning across a multitude of consumer technologies, particularly in healthcare. “If AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai has previously stated.
Blockchain is estimated to reach over $5.61bn by the end of 2025, even though it remains dependent on the ability to record and store information conveniently, economically and securely amongst different applications and systems. Providing transparency and eliminating third-party intermediaries, processes are streamlined, reducing healthcare costs exponentially. Unlocking the ability for providers to deliver a value-based healthcare system and enhance patient engagement, blockchain could save the industry up to $100-$150bn per year by 2025 in data breach-related costs, IT costs, operations costs, support function costs and personnel costs, according to BIS Research. Partnering with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Ethereum blockchain-based supply chain platform, Viant sought to accelerate the pace of blockchain-based supply chain systems. Accenture and supply chain giant DHL have also developed a blockchain-based serialisation prototype which tracks pharmaceuticals from the point of origin to the consumer.
6. Health wearables
With the rise of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, more consumers are turning to health wearables that monitor glucose, heart rate, physical activity and sleep to gain a greater understanding of their health conditions. Following on from the release of the first Bluetooth headset back in 2000, the growing interest in wearables has seen monitoring our health and data become standardised. This data can be analysed by sophisticated algorithms to drive long-term diagnosis and support. Partnering with Google, health wearables company Fitbit is exploring the development of consumer and enterprise health solutions. Its acquisition of HIPAA-compliant health platform, Twine Health has seen the business enhance its clinical services by bringing on board a coaching platform, empowering people to seek better health outcomes.
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5. Electronic health records tools
From 2018-2022, the electronic health records (EHR) market is expected to grow at a compound average rate of 6% per year Providers and organisations continue to house fragmented technologies which create barriers towards collaboration and data sharing opportunities. This is further exacerbated if a patient straddles both public and private healthcare. Technology giant Apple has integrated patients’ medical records into its Health App as part of its iOS 11.3 beta. The data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode. Partnering with hospital providers and clinics, patients are now able to view their medical records from multiple providers within one platform. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, UC San Diego Health and even the Cleveland Clinic have implemented this technology.
4. Healthcare transportation
Non-emergency health transportation remains a key issue worldwide, preventing patients from getting to or from a doctor’s appointment. 25% of lower-income patients have missed or rescheduled appointments due to lack of transportation, costing US health systems up to $150bn each year. Transportation companies such as Lyft and Uber have therefore entered the market by partnering with state governments to reduce these costs and deliver personalised patient care.
3. 3D Printing
Healthcare providers are set to represent the second largest industry sector in 3D manufacturing. The Food & Drug Administration’s decision to release its first comprehensive framework advising manufacturers of 3D medical products highlights its growing impact where more than 100,000 knee replacement surgeries are completed each year using 3D-printed, patient-matched surgical guides, for example. Through this process, surfaces and structures can be optimised for strength, weight and material use. Consultation between surgeons and patients has also been bolstered, where patients can better understand the complexity of his or her specific needs.
As consumers get more involved in the management of their health, consumer genetics and research companies have grown in popularity and scale. People want to further understand their genetic makeup, leading personal genomics and biotech company 23andMe to become one of the largest consumer-based organisations worldwide. Interestingly, this year, the company has entered a four-year collaboration with GSK to develop new treatments, but using human genetics as the basis for discovery.
Not only looking to develop treatments by analysing human genetics, pharmaceutical companies are looking to even remove hereditary genes which pass diseases down generations. In 2017, human embryos were successfully ‘edited’ through gene editing tool, CRISPR (Clustered, Regularly Interspaced, Short Palindromic Repeats), eradicating hypertrophic cardiomyopathy within 42 embryos.
1. Vertical integrations
As healthcare providers aim to provide greater transparency, promote collaboration and lower escalating patient costs, 2018 has been the year for a significant number of vertical integrations. CVS Health’s $68mn takeover of health insurer Aetna is a case in point. By influencing more of the supply chain, it will gain significant negotiating power to reduce costs for payers and patients, develop personalised solutions and improve overall outcomes. It will also promote the eradication of delays in process by removing any third parties within traditional business models. Other notable integrations are Optum’s acquisition of the DaVita Medical Group, Humana and Kindred Healthcare and Cigna and Express Scripts.
Reports have indicated that not only has the number of healthcare deals more than doubled in the last five years, the size of deals has also grown as a result of repeat investor interest, highlighting that this trend is here to stay.