Healthcare Technology Featured Article

October 15, 2012

Okinawa is Serious about Health

What comes to mind when one mentions Okinawa, Japan? Perhaps Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid series of the 1980’s? Or if you don’t remember the 1980’s, perhaps you’ll remember the Okinawa diet fad from a few years back that some claimed provides longevity in addition to better health? Or maybe when you think about Okinawa, you think of the prevalent U.S. military demographic there.

So what does the Karate Kid, a fad diet and the U.S. military have in common? A recent report indicates that a U.S. Naval hospital in Okinawa dedicated the first the week of October to Customer Service Week. So with the understanding that the military has amped up its healthcare on the same small island shared by Japanese centurions, it appears that this bit of news presents a microcosm of the Eastern versus the Western approach to health.

Some of the strategies that the U.S. Navy deploys in its efforts to better its customer service are to direct patients to the USNH website where they can fill out online surveys to rate their service. In addition, there are cards lying around the medical facility called “Magic Moments” cards, where patients can record circumstances with their treatment that they found to be exceptional. These surveys are all features of TRICARE, the health care system that serves military personnel.

Okinawa’s U.S. Naval Hospital serves 55,000 military affiliates, making it the largest overseas military healthcare facility. But, if the U.S. citizens, who are temporarily stationed in Okinawa observe the lifestyle of the natives, perhaps their visits to the hospital could be cut in half. However, it’s nice to know that people serving our country will have exceptional customer service when they have a need. 

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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