Reforming health care

I believe that health care is both a culture and a philosophy.

Contemporary society recognizes health care as technology.

This is why we are faced with the wrong-headed idea that investment in health care is an investment in technology.

This is simply not right. health care is a culture and a philosophy.

Buddhism teaches that there are four causes of suffering in life. The first is living itself. The second is disease. The third is aging, and the fourth is death. Healing these four sufferings is what medical service is about.

Health care service should not specialize in the treatment of disease. In Japan, there is a saying that all illness comes from the mind. It is people’s minds that bring about illness.

 The key factors that constitute health care are, of course, those who give health care and their patients. But, health are is not merely an issue of healers and patients. Besides patients and their doctors, families and communities are also concerned parties. Furthermore, there are the issues of nurses and other health care workers, the issue of medicine, and the issue of health equipment and devices. We also see the issue of educational institutions and the issue of insurance. And there are also the roles of the nation and the government itself.

It is necessary to clarify the boundaries and the scope of any questions about who should shoulder health care burdens, and what and how much those burdens should be. After that is cleared up, the flow of funds in the system should be established.

Health care  need us to involve not only hospitals but also entire communities. And above all, health care is an issue for families.

We know, too, that a factor that significantly influences health care is religion.

Another way to put this is that health care is concerned with personal happiness. Do patients want to be cared for using some state-of-the-art facilities? Or do they want to end their lives in the care of their families at home. We focus too much on monetary issues alone, and so we can’t see the real economy.

But it is the community that activates the economy. When using funds, it is important to carefully distinguish which is the more effective investment ? investing in the supply side, or investing in the demand side.

The key point is the prevalence of funds in the market.

The biggest problem in medical care in Japan lies in its diversity. Funds are not available to critical fields. The important point in medical care is to what extent patients’ opinions can be incorporated.

Patients with chronic diseases and their families are, in a sense, more familiar with their problems than medical professionals could ever be.

The foundation for health care will be truly established when patient and family inputs are fully incorporated.


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