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Accessible Care for Elderly Patients

Ensuring Fukuoka’s elderly residents can access the medical support they need.

Accessible Care for Elderly Patients

2 min read

 It’s difficult to miss all of the headlines discussing the potential impact of Japan’s aging population. According to a 2016 World Health Organization report, life expectancy in Japan has risen to highs of 81 years for men and 87 years for women. While that’s encouraging as people are living longer, it also creates complications where public support is concerned.

Fukuoka Smart East is dedicated to improving the quality of life and quality of care that the city’s aging population receives. It is our hope that as our projects develop, they will be adopted by other areas within Japan, resulting in better lives for people across the nation.

While many of us may take a trip to the doctor’s office for granted, it can be a big challenge for the elderly. Elderly members of the community often live alone and are unable to receive prompt medical care when an emergency occurs. Fukuoka Smart East is exploring options to get these residents the care they need in a form that will be easy for them to access.

Emergency Care Resources

 Many modern healthcare innovations revolve around advanced technology such as smartphones. That works for the younger population, but a large portion of the elderly population is unfamiliar with using this technology. Instead of forcing them to learn and risking low adoption rates, we need to bring them the care they require in a format they can use.

That’s why in addition to care via smartphones, Fukuoka Smart East Promoting Consortium has teamed up with Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Ltd. (J: COM) to use cable television as a platform for remote medical care. With onscreen instructions that provide medical care and medication instructions, elderly residents in remote areas will be able to access the medical support they need.

This project is currently being tested under Fukuoka Smart East’s PoC Program, in conjunction with online medical care service provider Integrity Healthcare Co., Ltd. These tests will verify how useful this method of healthcare proves to be for residents.

If testing is successful, J:COM will consider utilizing its extensive cable TV network of 5.51 million households to provide comprehensive healthcare services including online medical care, health consultations, health data management, and more. The PoC demonstration experiment will employ advanced security encryption on communications in accordance with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s Guidelines for Proper Implementation of Online Medical Care.

Transportation for Elderly Patients

 Another issue is how to create efficient transportation to and from Fukuoka’s hospitals. Elderly residents may opt to skip visits or may miss appointments due to transportation concerns. Whether they live far from bus stops, do not have a relative to drive them, or cannot afford to hire a car, we need to contemplate options that might lessen transportation complications for aging patients.

This has led us to consider investigating Patient Pick-up Rideshare Service PoCs. We are evaluating the possibility of establishing a patient transfer service between elderly residents’ homes and partner medical institutions. We hope this type of service will be developed within Fukuoka in the future, as it has the potential to make many patients lives easier, while also increasing the chances they will receive timely medical care.

Creating Healthier Futures

 Of course, these are just a few examples of the innovations we are considering to improve the lives of our elderly residents. Other Fukuoka Smart East focus areas will also aid our aging population, including smart delivery services, energy, and power management, efficient transportation systems, and more. Keep reading for more details on how we plan to improve the lives of our residents, both young and old!

Alexa Huth

Writer/Editor for Fukuoka City

Alexa is a communications specialist currently living and working in Fukuoka, Japan.

Click here to find out more about Alexa.