Who We Are
/ Certified Public Psychologist
In my previous job as a psychotherapist at a psychiatric hospital, I devoted myself to both clinical and research work. My main research was focused on helping people with mental illness to reintegrate into society through rehabilitation and behavioral analysis of the staff involved in this process. We quantified how much time staff spent on each activity, in order to seek better rehabilitation outcomes. But as the work went on, I lost confidence that it was truly useful for the patients. I thought to myself, “what is the usefulness of just chasing numbers?” and “wouldn’t focusing on clinical work be much more meaningful?”
At that time, one of my “senpai” who worked in the clinical field encouraged me. Hearing the words, “Your research will be useful for future patients,” I realized that there is also work to be done to save people who may suffer from illness in the future. Hospitals can treat illnesses, but not those who are not yet ill. The work for future patients needs to be done outside the hospital, not inside. Feeling so strongly, I decided to join C3.
A mechanism that can visualize mental illness.
Currently, I am involved in the start-up development of an early detection AI system for neurological and psychiatric disorders. It is most important to detect and treat psychiatric disorders early, because as people get worse it makes it much harder to return to their normal lives. So we are looking for a mechanism to help people “visualize” their own condition in order to be aware of their mental illness.
During development, we interviewed not only hospitals, but also companies concerned about employees taking leave due to depression, and educational institutions that support adolescent students who are prone to develop mental illness. I realized that the role of C3 is to respond to the concerns of people who might not know who to consult with on such issues.
In the future, I would like to work across various fields, not just medical care and welfare. For example, real estate developers who provide comfortable housing for people with disabilities, or agencies who can create spaces that people with symptoms such as palpitation and hyperventilation can comfortably use, even when surrounded by many people – for instance in public transportation. There needs to be someone that supports these areas that are outside the reach of medical care. I would like to continue to move forward with the aim of a future in which everyone can face mental illness with the support of the whole community.
I originally worked in the pharmaceutical industry for eight years. There I was in charge of regional pharmaceutical policy at a foreign-affiliated pharmaceutical company. I approached local governments, prefectural council members, city council members, patient groups, etc. to improve the health of my area. After that, I was involved in sales activities for new drugs as an MR for two years.
While in the pharma industry, I realized that each various region had its own healthcare issues, and I my desire to contribute to regional medical care solutions increased. However, there are limits to what you can do with a pharmaceutical company. As a pharma company, we cannot neglect the goal of selling medicine. In addition, community medicine has many stakeholders such as governments and medical institutions, so it takes a huge amount of effort to start a new business. In this way, I felt that instead of engaging with these issues half-heartedly, and decided to leave the pharmaceutical industry. I joined C3, where I can concentrate my full energy on community medicine.
I want to protect Japan’s proud universal health insurance system.
Currently, we are working on a medical cost optimization project that will generate income sources that support regional medical care. This is a new idea, with no precursors – and so there is no set path. Therefore, we go everywhere to negotiate, including National Health Insurance Divisions of local governments, the insurers who run health payer associations, and medical facilities nationwide that want to improve their care management. C3 is the hub, and we do the legwork to connect many stakeholders. I find it rewarding to do such work every day.
I believe in protecting the excellent Japanese system of universal health insurance.. This is a wonderful system unique to Japan that allows even the poorest people to receive optimal treatment on an equal footing. However, as population aging continues and medical expenses rise, the system itself may not be able to continue. Therefore, we are proceeding with this medical cost optimization project as a stepping stone to reduce unnecessary medical costs.
In the future, I would like to be involved in a project to intervene from the pre-illness stage. If we can prevent illness, we can reduce excess medical expenses and contribute to the survival of the universal health insurance system. I want to accumulate success with each project, creating a virtuous cycle that leads to larger projects. To that end, I would like to steadily visit local governments and medical institutions to connect the two and revitalize their regions.
Currently, I am involved in a project aimed at optimizing medical expenses. By having patients switch to reasonable generic drugs, we can reduce not only the burden on patients but also the drug costs of medical facilities. This is an epoch-making initiative that can reduce overall expenses of the health insurance associations. I mainly visit the pharmacy department of hospitals and health insurance associations, but even if they want to introduce generic drugs, they are already so busy that they struggle to get it done. C3 can intervene there and support change. This is a role that can be done from the standpoint of a third party.
In my previous job, after working at a university hospital as a nurse, I was doing research on diabetes prevention as a university faculty member. Although I was doing my best while facing patients on a daily basis, I began to feel that there was a limit to what I could do on the clinical side. Of course it is important to help the patient right there and then, and to research and elucidate the mechanisms of this disease, but I want to save more people. I have a strong desire to intervene early from the pre-illness stage and reduce the number of people who get sick. Therefore, I took up my current position in order to work on medical care from the business perspective, with a sense of speed and ability to execute.
IT services from the patient’s point of view.
While working at C3, I am also studying information science at the University of Hyogo Graduate School. Although electronic medical records are now being introduced in hospitals, information sharing between medical facilities by telephone or fax is still common, and IT systems have hardly progressed. We are looking for ways to create a system that combines medical care and IT.
For example, even if an elderly patient can leave the hospital, he or she still needs to engage with a variety of healthcare professionals, such as rehabilitation facilities, home-visit nursing and medical caregivers. In such cases, if there is a digital tool that can share the progress of treatment, medication history, patient intentions, etc., it should be possible to receive more detailed care. Some companies are developing digital tools, but they are not widely adopted because few patients and healthcare professionals can use them. Therefore, I would like to propose an easy-to-use digital tool from the standpoint of medical professionals and the elderly. I think it’s my job as a nurse to do that.
In the future, the number of digital healthcare services that utilize the latest technology, such as online medical care, will increase. I would like to take on the challenge of a projects that actively promote “medical care x IT” and contribute to regional medical care.
I am involved in a project to optimize medical expenses by utilizing generic drugs (biosimilars, etc.). It’s a whole new initiative to provide incentives to medical facilities and doctors to encourage them to consider and recommend patients to switch. I was responsible for applying to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s “System to Eliminate Gray Zones” to check if this project idea’s legality.
The gray zone system was established to check current regulations and inform companies with new business ideas whether they might run afoul of any rules. Here, my experience working at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare was very useful. Since government offices are vertically siloed organizations, they can rarely respond to anything that is not specifically under their jurisdiction. Therefore, we subdivided the questions in advance for each government office and made steady inquiries. It took about 5 months from the first inquiry to the official response from the Cabinet Office. Finally, all legal doubts were resolved as we were able to obtain the positive answer through this system.
At the core of every doctor is the desire to do things that benefit the patient. Many doctors and medical institutions will agree with the idea that generic drugs will reduce the burden of patients’ drug costs. I hope that C3’s proposal will be an opportunity to support them in this effort.
C3’s appeal: taking on challenges with a flexible stance.
Currently, I am responsible for answering questions from hospitals and health insurance associations that are considering the introduction of generic drugs. For instance, finding out how many patients are likely to switch to generic drugs, and figuring out how best to propose those changes. We will solve these new issues one by one, and aim to expand nationwide in the future.
After completing my medical residency, I joined the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, where I was engaged in management of research around rare diseases, vaccine supply management, and educational activities for infectious disease prevention. After that, I changed jobs to a company and was involved in the development of new businesses. C3 is a very valuable workplace where I can make use of my experience and expertise. I feel that it is very rewarding to be able to contribute to C3, which takes on the challenge of new businesses with a flexible attitude.
In the future, I would like to further leverage my experience in medicine, government, and business to connect these various institutions to take on new challenges. At the same time, I would like to contribute to preventive healthcare projects and the creation of mechanisms to improve the quality of life of patients.
At C3, I am involved in management, and am also the representative of KENKO WOMEN!, a program we launched in 2019 to support women’s health, and which has a lot to do with my own experience.
One day in my thirties, when I was devoting myself to work as a fund manager for pensions and investment trusts, I was suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, because we detected it early, the operation was successful, but I then began suffering from postoperative problems.
The first was the physical aspect. It became difficult for me to raise the arm on the side of my operation side, so I went to the hospital and asked to undergo rehabilitation. However, the hospital would not accept me as I was not “sick”. I happened to know a “kohai” who is a female physiotherapist interested in post-breast cancer care, so I asked for personal support and was able to get through it. But what was even more difficult was my mental illness. After I was discharged from the hospital, I felt depressed and tired easily due to trivial matters. Although it was not enough for me to try medication, I was in a dark tunnel for nearly 10 years.
The turning point that came to me was pregnancy and childbirth. I was able to gradually regain my positive feelings thanks to the encouragement of my child’s growth and the advice I received from the women I met as a result of raising my child. From this experience, I realized that I needed a place where I could bring various knowledge and discuss the problems unique to women, so I started KENKO WOMEN!.
Using financial systems To improve the health of women
Women often play four or five roles, including career, housework, childcare, and long-term caregiving. Therefore, they tend not to focus on their own health care. With this in mind, KENKO WOMEN! conducts educational activities such as breast cancer and uterine cancer screening and bone density testing. Using my experience as fund manager in the financial investment field, I am also looking to create a system that makes it easy to provide and receive such medical examinations.
For example, Hachioji City has introduced a Social Investment Bond (SIB) performance-based public-private partnership project to increase the rate of colorectal cancer screening. This is a mechanism that incorporates private funds in the form of an investment and allocates them to screening operation, which leads to an improvement in the presentation rate. Recently, crowdfunding that raises funds through the internet is becoming more common, and I would like to steadily incorporate various financial schemes in order to help change people’s health consciousness and behavior.
I like meeting people very much. At the same time, I enjoy creating new connections for others to meet each other. For me, activities at C3 are more than just a vocation. I want to continue to contribute to women’s health issues together with people who have sincerity, enthusiasm, wisdom and knowledge.