Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness, injury, disease, and other physical or mental impairments. Healthcare includes dentistry, psychology, nursing, medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more. Access to healthcare varies across countries, municipalities, and individuals and is primarily influenced by economic and social factors.
According to the World Health Organization, a well-functioning healthcare system requires a steady financing mechanism, a properly-trained and adequately-paid workforce, well-maintained facilities, and access to reliable information to base decisions on.
Having access to healthcare is seen as a fundamental human right by many people. Lack of quality healthcare can result in a poor quality of life and lower life expectancy than countries with a stable and accessible healthcare system. Countries with efficient and effective health care systems have overall better health outcomes.
How is the quality of healthcare determined? Several factors determine the level of healthcare quality in each country. These include the care process (preventative care measures, safe care, coordinated care, and engagement and patient preferences), access (affordability and timeliness), administrative efficiency, equity, and healthcare outcomes (population health, mortality amenable to healthcare, and disease-specific health outcomes). A study by The Commonwealth Fund used these metrics to rank 11 countries based on their quality of healthcare. The top-ranked countries are the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands.
Healthcare outcomes are changes in health that result from specific measures or investments. Healthcare outcomes include amenable mortality, readmission, and patient experience. The Healthcare Access & Quality (HAQ) Index ranks healthcare outcome scores on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the best. Countries with the best healthcare systems in the world have scores between 90-96.1. The Netherlands holds the highest score of 96.1.
What countries have the best healthcare in the world?
Switzerland's health care is universal, and health insurance is required for all persons living in Switzerland. Unlike other European countries, Swiss healthcare is not tax-based or financed by employers. Individuals pay for it through their contribution to Swiss healthcare schemes. There are no free state-provided health services. Still, basic health insurance coverage covers 80-90% healthcare costs, including outpatient treatment, emergency treatment, prescriptions, maternal medicine, vaccinations, post-operation rehabilitation, and more. Switzerland combines private, subsidized private and public healthcare systems to provide its citizens with an extensive network of qualified doctors, best-equipped medical facilities and hospitals, and no waiting lists.
Finland's healthcare system is believed to be one of the best in the world. Healthcare in Finland is a highly decentralized, three-level, publicly funded system. Municipalities are responsible for offering their residents healthcare services. Funding comes from two sources: municipal financing based on taxes used to provide primary healthcare services and National Health Insurance (NHI), which is financed with compulsory fees. NHI funds private healthcare, occupational healthcare, and outpatient care. In a European Commission survey, 88% of Finnish respondents stated that they were satisfied with their healthcare.