OECD urges healthcare overhaul in Japan

5 Nov 14
Japan needs to overhaul its health services to better meet the needs of its ageing population, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

By | 5 November 2014 

Japan needs to overhaul its health services to better meet the needs of its ageing population, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The country has famously long life expectancy (currently 83.2 years and increasing) and some of the best quality of healthcare indicators in the developed world, the OECD’s Health Care Quality Review of Japan notes.

This has partly been achieved by a healthcare system that is characterised by its flexibility and light-touch governance. While this has made the health system accessible and responsive, it has also brought challenges, the OECD argued.

For example, the average length of stay for hospital acute care is 17.9 days, compared to an OECD average of 6.6 days. The payment system does not reward quality in a sophisticated or consistent way and Japan’s high suicide rate and high numbers of psychiatric beds all suggest there is potential to improve quality and outcomes in mental health care.

‘To meet these challenges, Japan needs to shift to a more structured health system and strengthen quality governance,’ the OECD said.

‘Delivery of the key services of primary care, acute care and long-term care should be better separated, to make sure that care takes place in the right setting.

‘As this differentiation occurs, the infrastructure to monitor and improve the quality of care must simultaneously deepen and become embedded at every level of governance – institutionally, regionally and nationally.’

The report also called for a reorientation of healthcare towards preventive and holistic elderly care, a reduction in the number of hospital beds and a wider range of community services for mental health patients.

Did you enjoy this article?

Related articles

Have your say

Newsletter

CIPFA latest

Popular

Most commented

Events & webinars