Healthcare Services in Malaysia

This guide is intended to help consumers and purchasers of healthcare services in making informed choices about healthcare providers in Malaysia.

As soon as you know that you need to use a health service, your next tasks are to:

    • Identify available services in Malaysia
    • Choose a provider among them. You may consult several providers before making your final decision. Apart from personal factors such as familiarity with the provider, your health insurance status or restriction imposed by your employer, a smart consumer or purchaser should consider the following 3 objective factors:
  • 1 Price Obviously for the same service quality or performance, one should always opt for the service with the lower price
    2 Performance This is the critical information that you need. No point in paying little for a health service if it is not likely to do you any good or worst may even do you harm. Unfortunately Malaysian healthcare providers do not routinely measure their performance. We are just now beginning to make an effort to address this. Watch this space for more information on Malaysian healthcare performance data.
    3 Volume Theoretically one's decision in purchasing any services or goods should be informed by price & performance only. As performance data is frequently unavailable especially in Malaysia, volume can be useful as a guide.

    • The overall volume of the services provided in Malaysia informs us how highly specialized the service is and thus its likely limited availability. For example, only about 20 or so kidney transplants are performed a year in Malaysia by 2 or 3 providers, so chances are your choice of provider will be limited
    • For large volume services (eg 70,000 cataract operations and 12,000 coronary stenting are performed a year in Malaysia, about 5000 women seek breast cancer care a year in Malaysia), you will have wide choices of providers. In the absence of performance data, volume may be a guide. Generally avoid centres that perform too few of the treatments a year (certain service volume may be required to maintain skills, small centre may lack resources to properly organize high quality healthcare). On the other hand, provider with very large volume may be short of experienced staff or space, or simply unable to cope.

      Ultimately, nothing can replace performance data. Ask your health professional for it; you do not have to be shy about this. It is your life and health that is at stake here.