Traveling can be stressful enough without medical emergencies, thus knowing where the best hospitals in the world are located can be critical in making a decision as to where to go on vacation, or perhaps move to permanently. This list will not simply state the names of the top hospitals that exist in the world, but rather look at the countries which have the best average health care options.
We define best by looking at the World Hospital Organization’s rankings of countries’ medical expenses, medical facilities, and in-place healthcare system. As well, the amount of a country’s budget allocated to health spending can often be the sole statistic used in an attempt to show a country’s potential progress in the field. This is often very misleading however. For example, the United States spends the most money on its health care, has the newest technology, and the largest amount of top ranked doctors in the world, yet you won’t find it on our list.
This is for a variety of reasons; the United States has a large private aspect to its health care, and while the best doctors and equipment exist, they are often restricted to those with certain types of insurance or those with larger and sometimes unlimited budgets (See: Magic Johnson). Take Chicago for instance; if someone is shot on the west-side of the city, the nearest hospital that will treat them is 45 minutes away.
Now, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of doctors in the greater Chicago metropolitan area that have the ability to treat these injuries, but the system in place bars people of a lower economic class from utilizing their potential care. So, these hospitals don’t score as highly as they otherwise would, due to their limited accessibility.
Now, then, let’s take a look at the countries that provide the best hospitals in the world.
Over the last 20 years, Japan has continued to pour money into its health care system, and the benefits are definitely noticeable. For one thing, health insurance is mandatory in Japan, so you must either acquire it through your employer or the national program. Both the government provided care and the private sector in Japan are very good and have the latest in medical technology. It’s home to some of the best hospitals in the world, and would be ranked higher except for the fact that the average cost of health care in Japan is much higher than the other countries on this list. We head from the Land of the Rising Sun to Europe for our next stop on the countdown of the best hospitals in the world. Which European country is it? Head to the next page to find out.
Austria is interesting in that its citizens and tourists experience more or less the same health care benefits. Everyone pays a certain amount to the system based on income, and everyone receives the same health care. The issue in Austria is often a limited amount of top level doctors, as many have gone to neighboring countries to open private practices that allow them to generate higher incomes. Yet, Austria remains a solid country for medical emergencies and has some of the best hospitals in the world.
Spain would be ranked higher except for a few quirks in their health care system. There are numerous highly ranked hospitals throughout Spain, and health care is universal and there are generally no private expenses. The problem in Spain is with prescription drugs. The country does not provide coverage for these, and as a tourist they can be very difficult to get refilled. Thus, if you’re traveling to Spain, make sure to refill your prescription before you go, and if you live there already, you most likely already pay separately for your prescriptions. This issue does not fully take away from Spain’s generally exemplary health care, but it is a cause for concern for many travelers.
This is an interesting system in that the government runs a health care system that provides some care to all of its citizens, yet there remains a large private sector as well. This is largely because there is a wide split between the elite and poor in Singapore in comparison to other nations, and thus some prefer to pay for the best of the best. Yet, this by no means takes anything away from the government funded hospitals, which are held in high regard and remain relatively cheap for tourists as well. There are a plethora of options in Singapore and regardless of your budget you will be able to find reliable medical care, making it easily one of the countries with the best hospitals in the world.
In Italy, the central government provides health care to all of its regions and each region then manages itself with occasional assistance. There are esteemed hospitals in all 20 regions within Italy, and finding suitable health care options will not be a problem in this country. The one issue this country faces is controlling the flow of doctors between the regions, as some have the bulk of the best potential options.
France comes in at number one on our list as it has a National health care system that provides care to everyone. The government pays almost all of its citizens medical bills, and the rest comes from private insurance that some people buy to supplement the government’s coverage. It has a large amount of top level hospitals that are available to people of all economic classes and moreover there are plenty of tourist friendly options as well. The combination of the aforementioned factors make France the country with the best hospitals in the world.