Measuring The Quality Of Healthcare
The quality of healthcare varies from country to country, with some nations providing residents with state-of-the-art care while other struggle to provide minimum level care. Because healthcare is so versatile, measuring its quality can be difficult. Several factors need to be considered to have a complete understanding of the type of healthcare available in a country. Some of these factors include: country population size, number of doctors, number of nurses, number of hospitals, and number of hospital beds. This article takes a closer look at hospital bed availability around the world.
Counting Hospital Beds
The number of hospital beds in a country is an important factor in determining capacity because it provides an indicator of the health resources available to the population. Counting these beds, however, can sometimes be challenging because of a wide selection of model variations. The differences in bed models depend on the type of patient receiving care and include: dialysis chairs, ambulatory surgery, stroke recovery, and organ failure and ventilation (among others). Additionally, when a country provides information about its number of hospital beds, it may be excluding those found in the private or military sector, although this is not always the case.
OECD stands for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and consists of 35 countries, intended to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
OECD Countries With The Highest Number Of Hospital Beds
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has 35 member countries that work together to improve economic development and global trade. The following countries are OECD members.
Japan comes in first place for hospital beds with an average of 13.4 for every 1,000 people. In other words, this is over 1.5 million beds. This statistic includes beds in both hospitals and clinics. Japan identifies hospitals as healthcare centers with more than 20 beds, while clinics have less. This country has approximately 8,500 hospitals and over 100,000 clinics. On any given day, hospitals and clinics in Japan have 1.3 million hospitalized patients.
Following Japan, South Korea has the second highest number of hospital beds. Here, the average is 9.56 beds per 1,000 individuals. While the number of hospital beds in many countries around the world has been declining, South Korea has seen an increase, indicating growth in its healthcare industry.
In third place for the highest number of hospital beds is Germany. This country has approximately 8.27 hospital beds for every 1,000 inhabitants, or over 660,000. Although this is not the highest number of beds in the world, Germany does have a higher volume of hospital services than any other OECD country. Approximately 41% of the beds here are found in public hospitals. Roughly 30% are located in private, for-profit hospitals.
OECD Countries With The Lowest Number Of Hospital Beds
On the other end of the spectrum are the OECD countries with relatively low numbers of hospital beds per person. These countries are: Turkey (2.54 per 1,000), Chile (2.22 per 1,000), and Mexico (1.68 per 1,000). In Turkey, the current statistic represents a drastic drop from the 2007 number of 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants. In Chile, the number of beds per 1,000 has been progressively decreasing since 1970, when the average was at 3.8. Mexico also has the same pattern of decreasing hospital beds. It is important to note that a falling average of beds may not indicate loss in the healthcare industry. Instead, this pattern could point to a significant population increase that healthcare services have been unable to keep up with.
A more complete list of the number of hospital beds in OECD countries can be found in the chart published below.