Healthcare hotspots: the best places to live around the world for healthcare

Healthcare hotspots: the best places to live around the world for healthcare

17 January 2022 | 10min
Healthcare hotspots

Healthcare hotspots can be defined as countries where healthcare is both easily accessible and of a high quality. Depending on cost, availability of advanced technology and appointments and satisfaction levels of residents, some countries can be considered hotspots when it comes to great healthcare. At Healthcare Transformers, we wanted to find out which countries have earned this title around the world. 

Analyzing a country’s healthcare is complex, and there are a great deal of factors that contribute to how effective a healthcare system is. We have chosen the data points included in this report as they show a wide range of information, from official statistics to the opinions of residents, to discover the healthcare hotspots of the world. The data points in this report may differ from other similar lists, however these have been chosen specifically to show a wide variety of factors that contribute to a country’s healthcare for well-rounded results.  

The following data points were used to determine which are the best countries to live in for healthcare:

  • Health expenditure as a % of GDP and out-of-pocket
  • Share of the population with health insurance 
  • Prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders
  • Share of people that trust in medical staff in their country 
  • Number of physicians, nurses, midwives, pharmaceutical personnel and dentists per 1,000 people
  • Births attended by skilled health staff
  • Average life expectancy
  • Burden of disease, measured in Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), where one DALY equals one lost year of healthy life 
  • Healthcare quality and access

*The full methodology for this study can be found in the reference section below.

The top ranking countries for healthcare around the world

The top ranking countries for healthcare around the world

Japan is the best country to live in for healthcare

Japan scores a total of 84.4/100 in our index, the highest score of all the countries. The country’s statutory health insurance system provides universal coverage, meaning 100% of the population is covered. Annually, 10.23% of Japan’s overall expenditure goes towards healthcare, and 14% of this is out-of-pocket. In terms of pregnancies and births, 99.9% of births in Japan are attended by skilled health staff. The life expectancy in this country is 84.6, and the healthcare quality and access scores highly, with 89/100. Japan has 16,214.11 DALYs per 100,000 individuals, which is comparatively low alongside the top 10 health hotspots on our index, and is the second lowest number overall after Singapore. 

Sweden is a great place to live for healthcare

95.92% of residents trust the doctors and nurses in Sweden, and 100% have health insurance due to the universal and decentralised healthcare systems in place. Overall, the country scores 84/100 on our index and second place. Sweden pays the fourth highest percentage of the GDP towards healthcare at 11.93%. 100% of births in Sweden are attended by skilled health staff. The life expectancy is 82.8 years, and the country’s healthcare quality and access score is 90.5/100. There are also 18,002.29 DALYs per 100,000 people in Sweden. 

Finland scores highly in our healthcare index

Scoring 82.1/100 in our index, Finland is a great country to live in for healthcare. Public healthcare is available to everyone in Finland, leading to 100% of its population having health insurance. 96.76% of Finland’s population trusts their doctors and nurses and every single birth is attended by skilled medical staff in the country. The life expectancy there is 81.9 years, and the healthcare quality and access scores 89.6/100. Of the total health expenditure in the country, 18.23% is out-of-pocket, so while residents may have to pay a little more for the services, they are getting great healthcare in return. 

Iceland ties with Finland when it comes to its healthcare score

Iceland, like Finland, scores 82.1/100 in our index. 100% of the population has health insurance, and 96.55% trust their doctors and nurses. On the more negative side, 14.21% of the residents suffer from mental health or substance abuse disorders, and 17.48% of the total health expenditure in Iceland is out-of-pocket. However, the quality of healthcare and access score is 93.6/100, one of the highest scores for this data point in the world. The average life expectancy of an Iceland resident is 83 years, which is among the highest in the world, and there are a total of 17,664.75 DALYs per 100,000 people, putting it in fourth place overall.

Switzerland is in the top ten places to live for healthcare

Switzerland scores a total of 81.5/100 in our index. 100% of the residents have health insurance, and the country spends 11.66% of its total expenditure on healthcare. 26.8% of the health expenditure, however, is out-of-pocket – a number that puts Switzerland in the bottom 100 countries for this data point. 100% of births in Switzerland are attended by skilled medical staff, and the average life expectancy is 83.8 years. The health quality and access scores a high 91.8/100 overall, and there are 17,047.96 DALYs per 100,000 people, making it a global health hotspot despite the high out-of-pocket expenditure.

Slovenia is a global healthcare hotspot

Slovenia has a score of 80.4/100 in our index. 100% of its residents have health insurance due to a universal, compulsory health insurance system. 11.56% of the population suffer from a mental health or substance use disorder (a lower percentage than 114 other countries). The health quality and access scores 87.4/100. Additionally, the life expectancy in this country is 81.3 years, and only 12.07% of the total health expenditure is out-of-pocket, making Slovenia one of the world’s healthcare hotspots. 

Norway has a high ranking healthcare system

Norway scores 80/100 in our index, making it a global healthcare hotspot. 98.2% of the population trust their doctors and nurses, and 100% of residents have health insurance. 16.2% of the country suffer from a mental health or substance abuse disorder, which is the 9th highest amount in our list of countries. 14% of the total health expenditure is out-of-pocket, and 99.2% of births are attended by skilled medical staff. The average life expectancy in Norway is 82.4 years old, and each of these factors combined mean that Norway is one of the best countries to live in for healthcare. 

France ranks very highly for its healthcare

France scores 79.9/100 in our index. It is the first country in this top ten to not have a fully universal healthcare system. Instead, the French government covers between 70-100% of costs for health related payments, and the amount depends on your income and whether you are suffering from a long-term illness. 99.9% of French citizens have health insurance, and 6% of the total health expenditure is out-of-pocket. Overall, 94.62% of the population trust the nurses and doctors in their country. The life expectancy is 82.7 years, however 16.36% of the population suffer from either a mental health or substance abuse disorder – the highest percentage in the top ten. 

Belgium scores well in our healthcare index

Belgium’s score in our healthcare index is 79.7/100, making it one of the best places to live for healthcare. 10.59% of the total expenditure in this country goes towards healthcare, and of that expenditure, 18% is out-of-pocket. 99% of the country’s residents have health insurance, while 15.02% suffer from mental health or substance abuse disorders. 99.3% of births are attended by skilled medical staff, and the average life expectancy is 81.6 years. In Belgium, there are 19,465.35 DALYs per 100,000 people, and the healthcare quality and access scores 87.9/100, making it the ninth best country to live in for healthcare.

Czech Republic is a good place to live in for healthcare

Czech Republic scores a total of 79.7/100 in our index, giving it the same score as Belgium. Every resident in this country has health insurance, with a rate of 100%. Additionally, 90.89% of Czech Republic residents trust the medical staff in their country. The life expectancy in Czech Republic is 79.4 years, which is comparatively low among the rest of the top ten, however the healthcare quality and access scores a high 84.8/100. There are 21,382.38 DALYs per 100,000 people in this country, which is the highest of the top ten. 

The best countries to live in the world for healthcare

The countries with the most medical professionals 

The countries with the most medical professionals 

We have evaluated each country to find out how many medical professionals there are per 1,000 people in the population. These medical professionals have been split into the following categories:

  • Dentists
  • Physicians 
  • Nurses and midwives
  • Pharmaceutical personnel

The countries with the most dentists 

Oral health is an extremely important part of overall healthcare, and in the US, the two most common oral diseases are largely preventable. Because of this, having more dentists in a country means that more individuals will have access to this vital part of healthcare, and various oral diseases could therefore become much less prevalent. Cuba has the most dentists of any country, with 145.37 per 1,000 people. Greece follows behind with 122.03 dentists per 1,000 people, and Brazil completes the top three with 113.33 dentists per 1,000 people. Bulgaria is in fourth place, with 97.67 dentists per 1,000 people, and Colombia just makes it into the top five, with 96.  

The countries with the most physicians

Physicians, or medical doctors, are vital to a country’s healthcare system, and once again Cuba has the most per 1,000 people, with 8.4. Georgia is in second place, with 7.1 physicians per 1,000 people, and Lithuania is in third with 6.4. Greece has 5.5 physicians per 1,000 people, landing it in fourth place. Tied for fifth place is Belarus and Austria, with 5.2 physicians per 1,000 people each.

The countries with the most nurses and midwives 

Belgium has the most nurses and midwives of any country in the world, with 19.46 per 1,000 people. Norway is second, with 18.22 per 1,000 people and Switzerland is in third place, with 17.54 nurses and midwives per 1,000 people. The final two are extremely close together: Iceland is in fourth place with 16.21 per 1,000 people, and Ireland comes in fifth with 16.1.

The countries with the most pharmaceutical personnel

Japan has the most pharmaceutical personnel overall with 1.8 per 1,000 people. Jordan is in second place, with 1.55 for per 1,000 people. Lebanon has a total of 1.32 pharmaceutical personnel per 1,000 people, and Malta has 1.31, following closely behind. Belgium has the fifth most per 1,000 of the population, with 1.22.

We want to transform healthcare around the world

transform healthcare around the world

It’s important for us to do what we can to maintain the high quality of healthcare in these countries, and help those with lower scores to improve. Healthcare Transformers wants to help revolutionize patient care, and our website houses a huge amount of healthcare material from industry thought-leaders and experts in the field. The path to healthcare transformation starts with all of us, so let’s get started. Read more about how we can innovate and transform healthcare around the world.

Healthcare Transformers Insights are expert insights, opinions and strategies aimed at helping healthcare executives deliver improved patient care and financial value across the continuum of care.

References

Methodology

This Global Index is made up of 13 metrics that looked at health factors for each country, the metrics looked at were:

  • Share of the population with health insurance (defined by Our World in Data as ‘estimate of health insurance coverage as a percentage of total population. Coverage includes affiliated members of health insurance or estimation of the population having free access to health care services provided by the State.’)
  • Prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders (defined by Our World in Data as ‘compris[ing] a range of disorders including depression, anxiety, bipolar, eating disorders, schizophrenia, intellectual developmental disability, and alcohol and drug use disorders’)
  • Share of people that trust in medical staff in their country (from a Wellcome Global Monitor survey that asked over 140,000 people from more than 140 countries)
  • Number of physicians, nurses, midwives, pharmaceutical personnel and dentists per 1,000 people
  • Births attended by skilled health staff
  • Average life expectancy
  • Burden of disease (defined by Our World in Data as ‘the sum of mortality and morbidity [meaning the most prevalent diseases]… measured by a metric called ‘Disability Adjusted Life Years‘ – or DALYs’. This is measured by ‘Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) per 100,000 individuals from all causes. DALYs measure the total burden of disease – both from years of life lost due to premature death and years lived with a disability. One DALY equals one lost year of healthy life’)
  • Healthcare quality and access (measured by Our World in Data as ‘measured on a scale from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) based on death rates from 32 causes of death that could be avoided by timely and effective medical care’)

Countries that did not have a figure for their respective metric were given the average score for all the other countries that had data. If a country used more than 2 average scores across all metrics it was removed from the study. This means that any countries left had limited data skew from average results.

Each metric was ranked from 1-168 with higher ranks being given to better performing areas for each metric. These ranks were added together to give a total index score that indicated the best “Health Hotspot”

Entire data available under request.