Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Global Impact: South Korea, Argentina and Japan Most Satisfied with their Healthcare

According to Reuters, healthcare has improved in many countries in the last five years, but patients in South Korea, Argentina and Japan are the most satisfied with their medical care, according to an Ipsos poll released earlier today (June 11).

In a survey of 15 countries, people in those countries gave top grades for improvements in their national healthcare system since 2008, along with residents of Belgium and Australia, which rounded out the top five nations.

At the other end of the spectrum, patients in Sweden, France, Italy, Hungary and Spain were the least satisfied with their health services and experiences among the 15 countries studied.

The US, which came in sixth overall, was followed by Poland, Germany, Canada and Britain.

COMMENT: Ipsos polled a total of 12,001 adults online in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and North America about whether healthcare in their countries was better now than in recent years. 

Ipsos also asked residents to rate access to doctors, specialists, hospitals, diagnostic tests, drugs and their experiences in treatment options, quality, coordination, speed and level of care.

While the results show how patients rate their country's healthcare system, Ipsos reported that that does not reflect how one nation's system compares against another.

South Korea scored the highest marks in all categories.

Residents of Spain, which ranked at the bottom of the list, gave poor scores on access to diagnostic tests, hospitals, drugs and specialists and patient experiences in all categories. Those in France also gave low grades for most healthcare services, except for diagnostic tests and for the speed with which they could access medical care.

Poland's scores suggested worsening healthcare in the areas of hospital and specialist access, while Hungarian patients were most dissatisfied with availability of specialists and a hospital, and speed of services.

Sweden, which has universal healthcare coverage and among the world's longest life expectancies, was No. 11 overall and received low marks for access to specialists, diagnostic tests and hospital, and coordinated services.

Ipsos surveyed about 1,000 adults in each country, except for Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, Poland and South Korea which each had a sample of 500-plus participants. The online survey conducted January 4-18 had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for a poll of 1,000, and plus or minus 5.0 percentage points for a poll of 500 people.

A nagging question for the future will include surveys on patient satisfaction with Obamacare in the US, perhaps in 2019 or five years after its full implementation, to determine how many US citizens are happy with the grossly underfunded program.