Friday, October 22, 2010

Public hospitals vs private hospitals

The general perception amongst patients is that private hospitals provide better care. They definitely look much more impressive ! They have the ambience of a 5 star hotel. Because they are clean, well maintained and posh, patients automatically feel that the medical care must be better as well. Private hospitals also help to propagate this image with clever marketing and public relations campaigns, where they tom-tom their newest 128 slice MRI scanner they have recently purchased .

My contrast, most public hospitals are run-down; poorly maintained; and over-crowded. This is why most patients who can afford to go to private hospital usually opt for these.

Actually, a lot of this spit and polish in corporate hospitals is just positioning and hype. The truth is that public hospitals often contain centers of excellence within them, which can be world class. While this is not true across all departments ( many of which are understaffed and
underfinanced ), in some departments the quality of care is much better than it would be in any private hospital.

One of the reasons for this paradox is that these public hospitals are teaching academic hospitals, which have young professors , some of whom are very smart; very talented; and very driven. They have world-class technical skills - and also have the administrative ability to be able to get funds from the government to create islands of excellence within these public hospitals. They oversee research projects ; train young doctors; offer cutting edge treatment options; and travel all over the world to hone their skills.

How do you identify these centers ? Unfortunately, this is a big challenge ! The only way you can do so is by having "insider information", so you know who is doing what and where !

A major benefit of going to these hospitals is that they are much less expensive - and they provide much better value for money ! Also, because they do not treat too many well-off patients , if you can even speak English well , you are likely to be treated like a VIP !

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