Misuse of emergent healthcare in contemporary Japan

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Medical care is obviously an important public service to ensure the health of a nation; however, medical resources are not always used appropriately. 'Convenience-store consultations' and inappropriate ambulance transportation represent instances of such improper use by contemporary Japanese citizens in recent years. This article illustrates two examples of misuse and discusses potential countermeasures by considering factors contributing to these behaviours. Main body: From both public and medical perspectives, these patient behaviours are problematic, causing potential harm to others, negative consequences to such patients themselves, exhaustion of healthcare staff, and breakdown of emergency medical services. Although citizens need to recognize the public nature and scarcity of medical care, the more immediate need may be to identify and to remove personal and social causes inducing such misuse. In addition, healthcare professionals should become more trustworthy. To combat these issues, one-sided penalties such as accusations or sanctions for patients who misuse the system cannot be justified in principle. If measures taken to prevent misuse are ineffective, imposing surcharges or restricting consultations may be considered official policy, but these are not acceptable for several reasons. Conclusion: For now, we conclude that we must rely on the spontaneous motivation of patients who engage in 'convenience-store consultations' and ambulance transportation instead of taking a taxi.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 14


  • Emergency care
  • Medical misuse
  • Medical resources
  • Patient's duty


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