Things you should know about Japanese hospitals and healthcare system
Japan, without a doubt, is a developed country with a healthcare system that some other countries can only dream of. But let's go with me to discover what this system really is!
Some years ago, when I came to Japan to study abroad, I went to a lot of hospitals and met a lot of different doctors. I was aware that there are lucky people living in Japan but never having to go, but I had a strong obligation to go to the hospital at least every 6 months.
Therefore, I have obtained some experience with Japanese hospitals and doctors that I would like to share with you!
Also, this is totally based on my personal experience, so don't think of it as 100% true. This is just my perception!
1. Japanese healthcare system
First of all, healthcare services in Japan are too expensive!
For someone like me, it costs a lot to go to the hospital periodically.
As far as I know, there are different health insurance plans in Japan - as in any other country. The most common one (even for foreigners) is probably National Health Insurance (kokumin kenko hoken - 国民 健康 保 険), which covers 70% of (almost) all medical bills.
That means I would have to pay 30% of the bill every time I go to see a doctor - if it is just for the prescription. For a typical routine blood test, I would have to pay about 3.000-10.000 yen for my prescription and medicine.
2. Japanese hospitals
In Japan, it is normal to go to the hospital. At first, that seemed strange to me, because in Vietnam, most people would only go to the hospital to check "bigger parts" or when they are really sick!
The first time I went to the hospital in Japan, I did not know which way to go. Fortunately, the receptionists (総 受 付) were there to show me the departments I needed to visit. For instance:
- 内科: naika - Internal medicine
- 外科: geka - Surgery
- 皮膚科: hifuka - Dermatology
- 婦人 科: fujinka - Gynecology
- 耳鼻 科: jibika - Otorhinolaryngology
Moreover, I had to pay "introduction fee" and fill in many forms regarding my personal information, health status, mental status, medical history, etc.
After filling in all the forms, I got a "patient card" that looked like a credit card with my name and patient number on it.
Next, all I had to do is to sit and wait, and wait, and...WAIT!
Some hospitals do not allow first-time guests to reserve an appointment; therefore, I had to sit there and waited for several hours straight.
After the examination, I received a prescription (if any) and a bill. With that, I went to the cashier's counter and waited again until they called my name to pay for my examination.
3. Japanese doctors
Just like in any other country, there are good doctors and not-so-good doctors in Japan. I came to meet many doctors, yet I think I have not met any good ones yet.
The problem with Japanese doctors is that they leave the talking to you! If you do not tell them what you want, what sickness you think you have, and what part you want to examine, they will do nothing.
When I talked with my friends about this, even some of my Japanese friends also said that that was what they did not like about the Japanese healthcare system.
I once had dermatologists looked at my skin problem, but they just asked me about my skin history and gave me some random drugs without checking exactly if there was a problem. At first, I thought it was because I was a foreigner (and they did not want to touch me, for example); but after that, I heard that they treat Japanese people in the same way.
Therefore, some of my friends told me that to some doctors, I should be patient and tell them exactly what we want them to do to get a better outcome.
In Japan, you will only be given the amount of medicine you really need. So, if your doctor decides that your flu is over in 5 days, you will get the medicine for 5 days and that's it.
Regarding the medicine, I usually get a paper of the medicine's image and description (side effects, what the medicine is and what it is for, etc.) and follow the instructions to take it.
As you may say, I am not exactly a fan of the Japanese healthcare system; however, from my point of view, it is still more advanced than that of Vietnam.
Once again, this is only my personal experience. Here in Japan, you will not have to worry about your healthcare in Japan since this is a very developed country.
It can be different if you live in big cities (as Tokyo or Osaka). I guess it also depends on the amount of money you have, just like in any other country :))
I wish you all good health! See you in my next article!!!
Everything in Japan is different from cultures, behaviors, people,..I admire every bit of it. So I want to tell you about my Japan experiences through my stories here. Hope you enjoy it as same as me !!! @@@
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