A health care system is the totality of people, resources, and other means that healthcare organizations provide to satisfy health needs of the target public. Each country has its own historically formed and developed way to attract economic resources for the provision of health care, preservation, and promotion of citizens’ wellbeing that are designed in accordance with the country’s needs. The quality and quantity of the provided resources depend on the complicated system of political, economic, cultural, and other factors that are historically established in the country. To understand what features are typical of health care systems in different cultures today, it is needed to compare and contrast managerial and consumer behavior patterns, cultural values, negotiation styles, financial matters, and political considerations.
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Managerial and Consumer Behavior Patterns
The organization of health care during the process of transitioning to market relations is a normal process which is based on economic reforms. Today, the market of health care services is rapidly growing, covering new medicine and consumer segments. This process is caused by the fact that free services have a lot of shortcomings and cannot produce effects that consumers need. Still, benefits of the free medical care are the following ones: the reduction of the curing time, prevention of complications, and dissemination of knowledge and education among people. However, the free care often does not provide effective diagnostics and treatment because of a lack of resources (Kutzin, 2013). Therefore, free health care services can be observed only in South Korea. There are also countries where the major part of health care costs is covered by the government. They are Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Spain, and Japan.
The role of marketing in the health care increases and creates managerial behavior patterns in this area. As a result, in the ‘third world’ and developing countries, such as Afghanistan, Libya, and Bulgaria among others, people suffer from a lack of free healthcare resources and inability to pay in private treatment centers (Kutzin, 2013). However, the consumers’ mistrust of free medical care and the managerial behavior influence people who have money to prefer private clinics and doctors in contrast to public facilities. There are a lot of classifications of factors that affect consumers’ behaviors, but they are often divided into two groups: the factors of external influence and the factors of internal influence.
The factors of external influence affect the consumer as a part of society, while the factors of internal influence affect the consumer as an individual (Uphoff, Pickett, Cabieses, Small, & Wright, 2013). Social factors, caused by the external influence, are most valuable when consumers decide to use or not to use private medical services. Among these factors, the social inequality occupies a special place that is observed in such cultures as Chilean, Mexican, Turkish, American, British, and Portuguese ones, as well as cultures of the former Soviet Union (Uphoff et al., 2013).
People of every culture have their own beliefs about the human body and understanding of the term “health”. They also have their vision of how diseases should be cured. Cultural aspects play an important role in a person’s attitude to the health care system. In the Vietnamese culture, as an example, people believe that the health is nothing but the result of some mystical processes. People in the United States of America or developed countries in Europe have access to the high-quality health care and information which may prevent diseases and services in these regions are similar. Still, there are a lot of people all over the world who are not so close to the phenomenon of the modern medicine. Also, some people show some great mental features, even though they are familiar with up-to-date health care. For example, Chinese people tend not to speak about their problems with mental health because they feel ashamed losing self-control (Uphoff et al., 2013). Some peoples in India and Pakistan do not want to accept the diagnosis of mental diseases because it may reduce chances of their family members getting married.
Probably, the primary reason for negotiation problems between cultures is a language barrier. Many immigrants do not know the language of the country they visit, that is why the linguistic gap appears. Difficulties in understanding each other may happen even between people who use different types of the same language, not to mention the patients, who have to communicate with doctors by gestures. To avoid the language barrier problems, health care organizations need interpreters who will help to overcome cultural complexity.
Although the language barrier is the most obvious problem, it is not the toughest to solve. There is always the risk that doctors, who do not know cultural backgrounds of the patient, will seem to be rude. As an example, in the US, the prolonged eye contact is a gesture of confidence, but Japanese people and Arabs consider eye contacts impolite (Uphoff et al., 2013). Another kind of possible problems is related to cultural habits. For people from the US and Germany, for instance, time has a very high value, thus, they are punctual. It may have serious consequences when a representative of this culture works with Arabs or Spanish people for whom the punctuality is not so important.
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The funding of health care systems is crucial all over the globe because, without effective financing, it is impossible to achieve a universal coverage of medical care. Kutzin (2013) says, “Financing systems need to be specifically designed to: provide all people with access to needed health services (including prevention, promotion, treatment and rehabilitation) of sufficient quality to be effective.” Today, six countries match this definition. South Korea, for example, provides the free health care of a sufficient quality because of harsh environmental conditions. The Swedish government covers 97% of health care services costs for citizens, and the Australian government covers about 75%, but people who cannot afford to pay remaining 25% have the right to subsidy the price (Kutzin, 2013). Furthermore, in Italian hospitals patients do not have to pay for any kind of surgery and the ambulance services. Americans pay for the private medicine more than any other people. According to the OECD Health Data, in the year 2013, the average United States citizen spend $1,074 for socialized medicine, and the average spending of the Swiss is $1,630, while people in Netherlands and France spent $277 and 270, respectively. As for private medicine spending, U.S. takes the first place, spending nearly six times more than Canada, the second country in the list ($3,442 and $654 per capita, respectively) (Fuchs, 2013).
According to the World Health Organization reports, the health care system costs are rapidly increasing owing to population ageing, increased numbers of people with chronic illnesses, and the introduction of new expensive types of curing and diagnostics into practice (Kutzin, 2013). About one hundred million people end up in the streets after paying bills for the medical services. In the countries with a high level of health care systems, a hundred percent of births are assisted by qualified physicians and the level of maternal mortality is substantially lower, compared to the developing countries which have only about ten percent qualified births average.
Legal and Political Considerations
In the past twenty years, the financing of the health researches has increased. Despite this increasing, there are issues that the researches take too much time and lack evidence. That is why, the health researches became not only a matter of science but politics too. The governments of the countries began to develop the strategies which help the field to improve. However, in different countries, there are different ways to achieve the aim. In Sweden, for instance, there are several fundamental terms which can characterize the healthcare system of the country. They are: equal access to the healthcare services, responsibility for health and medical care is shared by the central government, municipalities and county councils, shared decentralized medical care and international cooperation with health organizations such as the WHO, the OECD, the Council of Europe and the Nordic Council of Ministers (Kutzin, 2013). In Germany, there is a program which is funded by employees and employers who pay to the “sickness fund” that pays the healthcare cost when it is needed.
Healthcare Practitioner’s Implementation and MBA
Healthcare management is a swiftly growing field, and its development is not going to stop. It causes the opening of multiple healthcare organizations and hospitals which need an effective management. The MBA degree provides the knowledge needed to run a healthcare organization effectively. Also, having MBA in healthcare allows becoming a hospital manager, pharmaceutical product manager or medical practice manager, and grants excellent career options and salary.
To understand what features are typical of health care systems in different cultures today, it is needed to compare and contrast managerial and consumer behavior patterns, cultural values, negotiation styles, financial matters, and political considerations. Though the medicine and medical equipment today are highly developed, there are a lot of people suffering from not having access to it. According to the World Health Organization’s ranking of World’s Health Systems, today, the top ten countries with the highest level of health care are Switzerland, Japan, Austria, San Marino, England, Singapore, Malta, Andorra, Italy and France. The last ten countries in the ranking are Myanmar, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zambia and Angola. Due to the high level of migrations and internationality of big countries, there are some struggles in the modern medicine. These problems are usually caused by the language barrier, mentality and specific cultural beliefs. The matter of medicine is rapidly growing and contributes to the competition in the field, becoming the concern of businessmen and politicians. Despite the differences in health care systems of different countries and cultures, there is no doubt that the development and funding of medicine is one of the major concerns in today’s society.
Fuchs, V. R. (2013). How and why US health care differs from that in other OECD countries. JAMA, 309(1), 33-34.
Kutzin, J. (2013). Health financing for universal coverage and health system performance: Concepts and implications for policy. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 91(8), 602-611.
Uphoff, E. P., Pickett, K. E., Cabieses, B., Small, N., & Wright, J. (2013). A systematic review of the relationships between social capital and socioeconomic inequalities in health: A contribution to understanding the psychosocial pathway of health inequalities. International Journal for Equity in Health, 12(1), 1-12.