Dr. Crounse from the Microsoft Health Blog shares some information about healthcare in Japan.  I had also heard about the measuring of the employee waists somewhere else along the line and if you get too fat you’re employer is in trouble with the central health authority and can be fined, their way of handling obesity in Japan.   We have healthcare coaches here in the US, but they are just that and not in the business of being able to fine anyone, but the insurance rates can easily be adjusted upwards.  Some of the same issues we have here, imagewith physicians being over worked. Some MDs are leaving the hospitals for outpatient services, an almost reverse of what is happening here with physicians leaving small practices for jobs at the hospitals as a hospitalist,  and the same issues with getting access and care to seniors.

Interesting note here too on how they do not have an extensive telemedicine network set up, but the most provocative point made here is the the inquiries about PHRs (personal health records) and wanting to know when they will be available in Japan.  Here in the US, so many are not even aware that these free tools exist, but I’m trying to get the word out and there are links on the blog here to get started at any time.  You don’t really understand the power of information and the ability to share until you enroll and get one, but with current economic conditions the PHR is coming of age quickly and is a real tool for helping avoid medical errors and will offer the patient better treatment plan with the physician if there is “known” facts and allergies, etc. up front, nobody can argue that point.

At any rate, an interesting comparison between 2 countries and some of the issues being addressed with healthcare.  BD 

“Hospital based physicians are so overworked they are bailing right and left for outpatient practices leaving higher-paying hospital posts with vacancy signs.  Making things even worse, say the locals, is an overall shortage of medical professionals in the face of a growing population of the elderly and more people with chronic diseases including obesity.

To help combat these trends, the Japanese government has launched a campaign that stresses more personal responsibility in maintaining good health.  It also asks employers to take a stance.  For instance, employers must now measure the waistline of each employee and report results to the central health authority.  They must also provide obesity management programs for overweight employees and will be fined if offenders don’t “measure down” appropriately.  Somehow I don’t think this program would fly in America.

The Japanese are also very interested in the idea of promoting personal health records.  Every government official and healthcare executive I meet wants to talk about HealthVault and Google Health.  “When will we have something like HealthVault in Japan?”, they ask.  They seem to agree that aggregating health data around consumers is a good idea and they are making plans to provide every citizen with a PHR.”


Related Reading: (Additional Posts available by searching the blog as well)

Personal Health Records – Who’s in the Know and Who has one?

Study Predicts Big Savings from PHRs (Personal Health Records) – Best Kept Secret in Healthcare?
The Economy – One more Reason to think about a Free PHR

The Health Cloud – Personal Health Records

Clinical Trials in the US – Begin involving the physicians and patients at the point of care to achieve greater success and participation with Personal Health Records
Why Use a PHR – Because It is there and it stands to help decrease medical errors
Personal Health Vault - Physicians arm thyself..
Healthcare leaders favor personal networks (Personal Health Records) to RHIOs for data exchange
Getting Organized With Online Medical Records – Personal Health Records


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