INTERVIEW

Mr. Takashi Kawazoe

Founder & CEO
Carepro, Inc.

One coin healthcare check up is a simple and inexpensive way to promote health awareness among the people, helping people to prevent lifestyle disease and create a healthy society by promoting the concept of “to receive proper health check by just dropping in”. In the future, we will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders to make one coin healthcare check up more readily available for the people.
The birth of CarePro One Coin Healthcare Check Up
As I was preparing for the business model, I was also working in the diabetes in-patient ward. I found many of the severe diabetes cases could have been prevented if the patients were being diagnosed earlier.
The reasons for not having an earlier diagnosis were “I didn't have a chance to go for healthcare check up”, “I didn't have time to go for healthcare check up because of my job/I have to look after my children”, “I never thought I would have sick”.
When I heard these reasons, I felt strongly that a handy prevention healthcare system to help people by tackling their basic lifestyle is extremely important. Also, the research shows that main reasons of why many people did not went for the healthcare check up were “no chance”, “takes time” and “costly”.

What came into my mind was, the “Minute Clinic” in a supermarket where I entered by chance while I went to the States for a field trip. “Minute clinic”is a service to serve the needs of the people who can't afford the hospital treatment, and people who have symptoms yet don't really want to seek for hospital treatment. A simple clinic staffed by  nurse practitioners (nurses that are certified for partial healthcare treatment) is set up in the huge supermarket, where healthcare, diagnosis and simple treatment can be provided with lower cost compared to the hospital.

Considering business plan that to provide the same service in Japan gave birth to the model of “One coin healthcare check up”. However, Japan do not recognize healthcare treatment provided by non medical doctor. As there is no nurse practitioner in Japan, without hiring a medical doctor, we can't even do“blood sampling” which is an essential component in healthcare check up. To tackle this problem, we employed the method where the patients take their own blood samples. By clearing this obstacle, the clinic at Nakano was opened on November 2008.
One Coin Healthcare Checkup - Implementing the idea of “to receive proper health check by just dropping in”
Each item listed in the health check menu (e.g. blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglyceride, pulmonary function test, bone density etc.) is available with just 500 yen, and the results will be conveyed within 5 minutes. The low cost checkup can easily be accessed by anyone,  and neither appointment nor insurance card is needed for the checkup. Following the result of the health check, the nurses in Carepro will provide advices on the lifestyle, and if a serious disease is found, they will be referred to the hospital.

When we started the service, the target audience were people of self-employed and housewives who had not been to healthcare check up.
However, we found that many of our customers were people who wished to assure if their diseases were under control, and the current outpatients who wanted to check if there were chances of other undiagnosed diseases. There are also people who make use of the service as a “pacemaker” to maintain their own health through regular health check, and having comments and advices from the nurses.


Collaborating with others to promote One Coin Healthcare Checkup
We also have set up dispatched healthcare services in shopping malls, velodromes, pachinko shops, bath houses, fitness clubs, drugstores, and insurance offices, to make the access easier for the people who are on their way out and on their way home. To make one coin healthcare checkup more readily accessible, this kind of approach should not only count on Carepro, but getting more stakeholders to take part in this effort, and franchising is necessary.

For example, we  negotiate with the train stations to have healthcare check up to set up in front of the stations for a certain period of time. As Carepro service has a high public interest, the stations are always willing to corporate with us. We also join in the events that aim to promote insurance policies and medical insurance, as well as collaborate with the pharmaceutical companies to organize health check events for people who had discontinued treatment. We also work with the administration offices. In Nara, we held the first national “One Coin Health Check Event”. In Chiba, we had a free health check for part of the healthcare menu in Kisarazu city during the National Health Insurance Live Festival, to create awareness of the importance to join National Health Insurance and lifestyle modification.

As a result of these activities, we had more than 160 thousand of users until May 2013.

Challenges in promoting One Coin Healthcare Check Up
In the beginning of Carepro, we were ordered to close down by the health center. It was most likely that there was fear where the health center may need to take risk to take responsible when problems occur as Carepro is a non medical facility. Also, we had received complaints from the medical institutions. I believe that these happened because there was a lack of understanding about what one coin healthcare is about. We explained to the members of the medical association, politicians and administrations, that one coin healthcare is not an idea to take away patients from the hospital, but to discover new patients that are under diagnosed, and they would be referred to the hospitals. With these efforts, a consensus was formed, and collaborations from these institutions were gained.
The Plans for future development
In future, we plan to have (1)ICT-support, (2)focus on overseas development

Concerning the ICT-support, it is not only about locating own health data, but to link with related recipes to improve health, useful insurance plans, and information of medical institutions. Also, by making full use of the data base of the 160 thousand users, we can form a SNS, aiming to create a desired health rank and community in order to improve healthcare concept.

We are also planning to have the same service in England, India, Singapore, and Kenya. We are considering franchising our services by partnering with people who have strong local network and know the local lifestyle well.




Expectation for NCD Alliance Japan


In future, as we expand Carepro services, it is important to collaborate with a variety of stakeholders, for example, the medical equipment  manufacturing companies,  applications and system development companies, policy makers, and overseas partners.  I wish that NCD Alliance Japan will be a place that can create a fit for these various stakeholders.

Also, concerning the overseas NCD information, I hope to know the success stories of others. Why not call for an annual NCD Alliance Global Summit that involves NCD stakeholders from each country in the future?


More information via about CarePro
(In Japanese)


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