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Japan continues to enjoy strong health outcomes and the longest life expectancies in the OECD. Its health spending has risen more quickly than in other OECD countries in recent years, partly due to population ageing. Within tight fiscal constraints, Japan must ensure the financial sustainability of its health system while orienting it toward an increasingly older population.
The OECD/Korea Policy Centre fosters the exchange of technical information and policy experiences relating to the Asia Pacific region in areas such as health statistics, pension reforms and social policy and expenditure.
This report reviews the quality of health care in Japan, and seeks to highlight best practices, and provides a series of targeted assessments and recommendations for further improvements to quality of care. One of Japan’s foremost policy challenges is to create an economically-active ageing society. Excellent health care will be central to achieving this. A striking feature of the Japanese health system is its openness and flexibility. In general, clinics and hospitals can provide whatever services they consider appropriate, clinicians can credential themselves in any speciality and patients can access any clinician without referral. These arrangements have the advantage of accessibility and responsiveness. Such light-touch governance and abundant flexibility, however, may not best meet the health care needs of a super-ageing society. Japan needs to shift to a more structured health system, separating out more clearly different health care functions (primary care, acute care and long-term care, for example) to ensure that peoples’ needs can be met by the most appropriate service, in a coordinated manner if needed. 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.
Specific country notes have been prepared using data from the database OECD Health Statistics 2015, July 2015 version. The notes are available in PDF format.
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Highest life expectancy in Japan has been attained through a series of public health actions and universal health coverage.
Elderly individuals with complex, chronic diseases need continuous and tailored care to maintain their health and maximise their ability to participate in society. Japan must change the way it delivers health services for older citizens by strengthening its specialist primary care and making mental health care services more widely available, according to a new OECD report.
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Japan has good health outcomes and has rapidly increased its spending on health care in recent years. It now needs to focus on improving efficiency of its health system in order to continue delivering high-quality care while containing costs, according to a new OECD report.
The global economic crisis has had a profound impact on people’s well-being, reaching far beyond the loss of jobs and income, and affecting citizens’ satisfaction with their lives and their trust in governments, according to a new OECD report.
The mortality amenable to health care is defined as a possible indicator to measure the health care systems performance in preventing premature deaths that can be avoided by appropriate health care intervention. This paper assesses the feasibility of using this indicator in OECD countries.