Hi Smiles friends! Welcome back to our Japan 101 series. Today we are going to share on what to do when you go to a clinic or hospital in Japan.
Clinics in Japan
Clinics in Japan are run by one specialist doctor or could be more than one doctors covering several specializations. When you figure out which department you should go to, you can choose a clinic first. For non-emergency situations, people also usually choose a clinic to receive medical consultation. Some clinics will not require you to make a reservation first, but specialist clinics sometimes do require you to have a reservation, so it is better for you to confirm in advance. A clinic’s opening hours is mostly same as other businesses, Monday to Friday usually from 9 AM to 6 PM. There are some clinics available on Saturday mornings but closed in the afternoon. However, most of them are closed during Sundays and public holidays. Please keep in mind that there are 1-2 hours lunch break during the day. Almost all clinics join Japanese Health Insurance, means that it will only cost you 30 per cent of the total cost. Clinic will charge you less on the second or third visit, because there will be first visit cost.
Hospitals in Japan
Hospitals in Japan have no difference with hospitals in general. It is generally more complicated than a clinic and offers many doctors with huge range of departments. In Japan, they use hospital after being referred by a clinic or if it is more convenient for them to visit. Or sometimes if they simply want to receive care from well-equipped facility. Most hospitals will require you to bring a referral letter by a clinic, and they are allowed to charge you more to patients without the letter for around 2,000 to 5,000 JPY. Similar with clinics, some hospitals require you to make an appointment in advance, and some do not. However, you would need to pay attention that in general, patients need to visit during 9:00 to 11:00 AM on weekdays. Because, on the afternoon, they usually only accept appointments of returning patients. Hospitals are closed for non-emergency patients on weekends and public holidays. Hospitals accept Japan Health Insurance which allows you to pay only 30 per cent of the fee. Also, it is better to prepare cash, because some hospitals are still not accepting cards.
Steps On What to Do
When you arrive at the clinic or hospital, here are steps you have to do:
- Pick a number and wait for your turn to be called by the reception.
- Once you are called, you will have to let them know that it is your first-time visiting, and they are going to ask you to fill out a registration form. It is usually a regular form asking for your basic information such as name, address, phone number, medical history, whether if you have allergies or not, and the reason why you visit the hospital.
- In big hospitals, they will collect your form, let you know which department you should go, and ask you to wait in the waiting room.
- They will announce your name with big speaker in a big hospital; but in a clinic, nurse will directly call you when it is your turn.
- After you see the doctor, you must wait again in the waiting area again until it is your turn to pay the fee.
- If the doctor gives you medicament prescription, you can either collect it in the hospital’s pharmacy or outside of the hospital.
Japan Health Info