Healthcare system reform is a huge political issue not only in developed countries but also in emerging or developing countries and in global society. This is because of the rapid changes taking place in the structure of major diseases based not only on the progress of healthcare technologies but also on the enhancement of life expectancy, changes in social structure and in lifestyle.
In addition many societies share the problem of aging population. Since public funding for healthcare expenditure is already pretty much to its limit even in developed countries this is another big challenge. Also it is clear that income inequality within and across the countries continue to expand in this global world.
So, Japan is not the only nation that faces problems related to healthcare. However, there are some reasons particular to Japan that make system reforms particularly difficult here.
This is one of the main themes that we work on at the Health Policy Institute, Japan.
However, in view of such major changes in our society, it is clear that healthcare system must be structured with more attention to social aspects. In other words, we must take into consideration ‘Social Determinants of Health’ (Ref.1) in our policy, thus we must create not ‘Healthcare (Medical, in principle) System’ as it is but rather ‘Health and Healthcare System’. Otherwise I suspect that winning public support for policy or its implementation would be difficult.
Here, I will introduce to you my recent interview (in Japanese) reflecting such thoughts.
Same perspective is also expressed in my book ‘University Hospital Reform (Daigaku Byoin Kaikaku)’ (in Japanese).