Healthcare Works Radically Different in Brazil

Western Healthcare Systems Could Really Learn some Lessons

Healthcare is a human right.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

While I was in Brazil, I had the opportunity to follow a good friend to some doctor appointments. This presented a unique opportunity. I could get an insight into how Brazilians experience their own healthcare system. And also have an exchange about what I notice with western eyes. The ensuing debate my friend and I had, was interesting.

First of all, all healthcare systems have strengths and weaknesses. But I will double down on that universal healthcare is a human right. Even though, there are some U.S. citizens who disagree with me. That is for another post.

For now, I will compare observations and experiences from Brazil and Europe.

Healthcare Services Are More Decentralized

On at least two occasions, we passed by some central laboratories. This is a difference between Brazil and Europe. In both Denmark and Germany, it is your own doctor, who does most of the work. If he needs a blood sample, he will tap it right there. Then he will send the specimen for analysis.
In some cases, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for further treatment. That specialist takes over. I have experienced many times, that my own doctor has no idea what happened at the specialist.

In Brazil, it seems to work the other way around. The primary care doctor seems to be the coordinator. He will send you to one of the central laboratories. In those laboratories, they take your blood, urine, EKG, or whatever your doctor ordered. After that, the results end up with your primary care doctor again.

This has some advantages in my opinion. First of all, it ensures that your primary care doctor knows YOU. He knows your history. My friend told me, that consultations can often last a very long time. In Europe, they always last 15 minutes. That is the standard rate, the doctors charge the insurance. I have often felt, that 15 minutes is far too little to actually do an exam or get to the bottom of my issues.

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My Name is Alexander Benesch, but it is okay to just address me with Alex. I am from Germany but have spent more than half of my life in Denmark, where I have been teaching special needs students, among many other activities. I write about education and teaching, provide tips for teachers and lesson materials, and blog about educational technology. I also offer my tutoring services via the blog. I am passionate about teaching and I have many thoughts and opinions about pedagogy, education, and social issues. I believe that our education systems need a major revolution to be fit for the challenges that humanity faces in the 21st century. That is why I decided to write about it.

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