Report: Practice in Thomas Jefferson University, 2015
17th August to 21st August 2015
Five-day program at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) in this summer was very exciting and impressive for me. During this five days, I could realize the differences in systems of medicine and doctors and medical students between the U.S. and Japan. I would like to write down what I was impressed below.
First, I was really surprised at the difference in medical insurance systems. All the people in Japan pay only 30% of medical bills because of Universal Healthcare System. The U.S. doesn’t have such a system, so medical bills people in America have to pay vary from person to person. Rich people can afford to take expensive medical insurance in which they can receive almost all of medical care, but poor people cannot take such expensive medical insurance. As a result, poor people in America cannot receive medical care enough to cure their disease. Although I knew this fact before this program, I felt really sad when I actually saw this situation with my own eyes. At the same time, I thought what a good healthcare system Japan had.
Second, I was impressed by length of time doctors spent in everyday rounds and outpatient care. Doctors in America spend 15 to 30 minutes in medical care of one patient. This is more than three times as long time as average Japanese doctors do! In addition to this, American doctors go the rounds with a team composed of pharmacists and radiological technicians. Resident doctors also can participate in it and receive education from doctors. This helps doctors with making decision of treatment plan efficiently and reduces doctor’s load. Work is clearly separated by occupation. In this way, in America, workplace environment for health care workers is very good and patients can receive medical cares of good quality, I think.
Third, positiveness of medical students also impressed me very much. Medical students of TJU can participate in charity program called Jeff Hope where poor people can receive medical care for free. In Jeff Hope, they ask a patient about his condition with a doctor who is in charge of him at first. Then they make a presentation to the doctor, receive some advices, and then actually see a doctor’s interview. According to a student who participated in Jeff Hope, all the students of TJU participate in it once a week.
Practice in TJU was great, but I regret that I could not completely follow whole works of TJU doctors and medical and educational system of America.
As a whole, this practice was so valuable that I am willing to recommend to my juniors. Only five days was so short but I think I could realize both good and bad points of medical systems of America and improve my mindset as a medical student. Finally I really appreciate all the kindness of people I concerned.