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Keio J Med. 2007 Sep;56(3):96-101.

What's the difference? Comparison of American and Japanese medical practice.

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1
Diplomate in Neurology American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, USA.

Abstract

Medical systems in the USA such as EBM., DRG., Informed Consent and Second Opinion have already been introduced into the Japanese medical system. However, some of these systems have met resistance from a part of the population due to the differences of social structures, morals and customs between the two countries. Briefly, I described the medical education and licensure, the private practice and "open hospital system" of the USA. The following 4 topics which drew great interest in Japan will be discussed. 1) CEREBRAL DEATH AND BIOETHICS: Cerebral death has been restrictively accepted as human death since the 1980's only in terms of terminal cares in clinical medicine. The rather simplified current neurological criteria for death are approved in the USA. In order for an organ transplant to take place, a potential donor must be diagnosed as brain dead. However, Japanese society has not accepted the concept of cerebral death completely because of an accident in the 1960's where an organ was improperly removed when the donor who was not in the state of brain death. Recently, more people in Japan are showing interest in Dignity and Euthanasia from the point of view of "Right to die". 2) MALPRACTICE AND LITIGATION: "To err is human" was introduced by the Institute of Medicine for Risk Management. Accidental deaths of patients under medical care ranks No.8 in total number of deaths in the USA. There are 100,000 malpractice cases in the "Lawsuit Society" of America, which is 100 times that of Japan. Furthermore, the legal fees and insurance premiums are extremely high in the US as opposed to very low in Japan. 3) HEALTH CARE INSURANCE: To reduce medical costs, the insurance companies introduced "Competitive Managed Care" which resulted in the formation of "Health Maintenance Organizations" (HMO). Furthermore, when you compare the two countries in respect to those who have health insurance, 44 million in the USA carry no health insurance, whereas in Japan, the government cover for everybody's health insurance. 4) DISCLOSURES IN THE USA: Medical bills and statements are sent to all patients. Maintenance records belong to the patient. The Medical Board discloses those physicians who are facing disciplinary action.

PMID:
17906421
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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