Editor’s Note: Boris Alvarez, project consultant for Medical Technology School, Universidad San Sebastián , in Santiago Chile, shared his thoughts with us on the difference between public and private healthcare, digital x-ray technology and the importance of continuing education and networking.
Q: Having lived in both the United States and Chile, can you give us a snapshot of the differences you see in planned healthcare reforms?
In my opinion, healthcare reforms in both countries address the need to achieve better access to care, especially for those more vulnerable citizens.
On one hand, the USA has been the most important country in the development of technologies for the whole world. This is increasing healthcare costs by transferring research costs to American patients. The US government expects to use strategies that reduce healthcare prices for the population with fewer alternatives to pay for it.
In contrast, the Chilean government is addressing healthcare access through a framework that allows public and private investment to give access to better technology to the people who can not afford it.
I think the biggest challenges for healthcare institutions are in their capacity to adapt to the new scenario. In the American case, institutions must be able to fit their cost structure in order to be more competitive. In the Chilean case, institutions must follow the technologic vanguard, in spite of the limitations in budget of the Chilean market.