Cost, access and quality are major concerns when considering the top 15 countries with the best health care facilities.
According to researchers at Stanford University, governments must effectively handle these three issues in order to deliver the best medical services to their citizens. No location is perfect, but the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes a few locales that stand out from the others.
Here they are, in no particular order as of June 2013.
1. Saudi Arabia
Saudi residents enjoy a national health care system overseen by the Ministry of Health (MOH) Department. Specialized services require a physician’s referral, providing patients with access to the latest treatments. Local hospitals offer the latest in a variety of medical specialties, including neurosurgery and hematology.
Home to universal health care, Swiss residents must purchase basic coverage that handles expenses incurred by treatments and hospital stays. Annual premiums equal up to eight percent of an individual’s take-home pay, and insurers cannot make a profit from their services. Medical facilities offer scenic views while handling medical issues of a social and physical nature.
The principality provides citizens and naturalized residents with complete and advanced coverage. Only employed individuals and their dependents are eligible for a special card that covers up to 100 percent of all medical expenses. Siemens corporation recognized the local cardio-thoracic center for its innovative work.
Andorra is another principality that adopted French health care practices. With funding from employers and employees, the system covers between 75 and 100 percent of all medical expenses. Approximately 13 fully equipped facilities offer various health services.
French citizens are subject to payroll deductions for compulsory coverage. The government reimburses a portion of all out-of-pocket expenses, and the country recently started a referral process for specialists. The St. George Clinic in Nice features robotic surgery assistance with a specialty in cancer research.
The Arab state of Oman boasts an impressive public health care system, despite its classification as a middle-income locale. Foreigners typically provide medical services at a number of fully equipped hospitals, but a new medical school and more Omanis opting to study abroad continues to create better services.
The government covers 70 percent of health care expenses for Japanese citizens. Medical facilities cannot generate a profit, while only licensed physicians can own and operate clinics. Coverage options exist through individual employers or local government plans.
Aussies have access to a unique system comprised of public Medicare coverage and various private facilities. Medicare covers between 75 and 100 percent of all incurred medical expenses for all eligible citizens, who also have access to private supplemental coverage. Royal Melbourne in Victoria remains a popular option among user polls.
9. Costa Rica
Costa Rican medical services feature the latest technologies and are constantly receiving upgrades that help maintain a healthy population. Citizens and permanent residents have access to universal medical services, but a thriving private sector also exists thanks to plastic surgery tourism. Contraception and high cholesterol medicines are inexpensive and available without a prescription.
The Provincial Ministry of Health oversees health care services for Canadian residents. Free basic coverage includes infertility and maternity care, but certain provinces exclude dental and vision care. Sturgeon Community Hospital offered some of the shortest surgical wait time for patients.
A major overhaul in 1995 meant that Israeli citizens must join one of four medical coverage groups. Members have basic coverage that includes preventative medicine and hospitalization, but each organization also runs private facilities that offer specialized services. Local facilities serve as premiere learning institutions for future physicians.
12. United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Abu Dhabi
The UAE government invested over $400 million United States dollars (USD) in the local medical industry. Currently, there are 40 public hospitals offering innovative care to residents and international tourists. As of 2006, Abu Dhabi adopted a French structure for their health care system to offer medical coverage to all citizens. Employers and additional employee deductions fund plans.
The former British colony keeps medical care accessible by keeping their low-cost facilities stocked with well-trained physicians who place an emphasis on preventative medicine. Most medical personnel trained abroad, with many spending their time at European educational institutions. Insurance coverage for residents is reasonable and prescription drugs are inexpensive.
Government taxes fund the Swedish healthcare system. Coverage is free to citizens and there is talk of extending the privilege to illegal persons living in the country. Regulations limit how much an individual can pay for drugs before the country steps in and supplements any outstanding costs. Average wait times for an appointment is seven days, while specialist and surgical appointment occur within a 90-day window.
Dutch citizens have a complex, multi-tiered system that appears successful in providing comprehensive coverage. Everyone must purchase private insurance, but government funds handle larger expenses. Hospitals and insurers are non-profit entities. For enhanced patient care, facilities must specialize in a particular area of medicine instead of operating as a general practice.
Fast responses and effective services are what make a top-notch medical facility. Each of the previous listings also has experienced personnel at the helm to deliver quality service to every patient who walks through the door. With any luck, their success will make others take notice and spark a desire for improvement.