Japan’s health policies to address the most advanced-aged society have been the target of focus in Asia, but no studies have investigated this issue using tools for cross-country comparisons.
A cross-country study design was used to compare healthcare reform policies with a framework in Japan, Korea, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Data were collected via document reviews and key informant interviews.
Three distinctions were identified. First, all countries except for the Philippines have policy decisions regarding reforms for the existing service delivery systems for healthcare, long-term care and welfare. Second, the most extensive service delivery reform is currently being implemented in Japan, whose system is shifting to primary health care. Third, the direction of the transformation of service delivery system is different between Thailand and China despite a similar level of ageing society. China has made progress on facility-based care integration between health and social care, whereas Thailand is focusing on home-based care.
Doctor and hospital-based healthcare delivery system requires more drastic reform for an aged society. This fact implies that strengthening primary health care is not only useful for current health issues but also an investment for the aged society near future in low- and middle-income countries.