Some things I notice. Everyone is cheerful and takes their time. You have to with Grandma wobbling along with her walker. Nurses smile and say "Nice to see you again" even when they are on their way to help another patient. People joke around. The doctor is smiley and warm and never sits down. So, what is different?
In Japan for one, the waiting rooms are usually not decorated. Mostly linoleum and benches lined up facing in one direction. Usually we visit either the general hospital (where rotating doctors see outpatients) or private hospitals which can be nice but means you get passed around if you need to see another doctor. I think that it is the dream of most Japanese doctors to someday own their own private hospital because the general ones don't have a lot of warmth to them.
There usually isn't an appointment system in Japanese hospitals or if there is one at all it is a "come on this day" system, not at a specific time. So patients end up waiting hours and hours before the doctor can see them. There is an outer waiting room and an inner waiting room which is divided from the examining room by curtains. You get called to go through the curtains to go talk to the doctor. I remember when I was pregnant with one of my kids thinking that everyone in the inner waiting room knew what the doctor was telling me except ME! They could hear and understand him and I could only hear but didn't understand much at all!
There is only one examination room in Japanese doctors offices (even eye doctors, dentists etc.) and the patients move from one station to another rather than the doctor. He sits at his desk and asks questions and reads what the nurses have charted up and occasionally will stand to look at you or check out whatever needs to be checked, but he rarely leaves his marked off little area. This is economical in some ways because whereas each examining room has to be equipped with machines and supplies in the American clinics, in Japan at least equipment costs I would assume, are less.
I also noticed yesterday that the very nice lab technician that was taking blood had numerous tattoos on his body. That would never go in Japan! Tattoos are still no-nos and in the numerous hot spring spas that we visit there are often signs posted saying no tattoos allowed. That seems discriminatory to me but it is the Japanese thinking that tattoos are connected with the Mafia.
The very nice lab technician yesterday was so gentle and kind to my mother checking out one arm and saying "Hmm. Decided to leave your veins home today?" and then finally doing a "poking" job on the other. I noticed his tattooed finger when he was looking for a vein. A further look at his crewcut head revealed that he had an intricate tattoo on his scalp too and I discovered another one on the back of his neck as he very tenderly bandaged up Grandma's arm. Just interesting to me because one tattoo in Japan and I'm sure the person would be banished from the ordinary work force.