Interview with Hajime Kamada, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Hokuto Hospital.
What do you think of when you hear the word Russia?
I recall the time I visited Vladivostok for the first time in 2010 in order to see the situation of medical care. Seeing the beautiful ocean and hills of the city, I remember feeling it had the same atmosphere as San Francisco, where I studied abroad. Through the dedicated policy development by the federal government and the Government of Primorsky Krai, and also through a lot of events such as APEC and Eastern Economic Forum, the city of Vladivostok has changed a lot. The city is making progress even today.
I am very familiar with the word of «Russia». Hokuto Social Medical Corporation started medical services in Hokkaido in 1993, and has been operating almost 30 years supported by a number of colleagues and patients. So far, we have already accepted many medical and nursing care staff members, and many patients from abroad such as Russia, China, South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia, etc. We have an interpreter service desk for the foreign patients including Russian people.
What is the main reason to invest in the Russian Far East?
In 2013, the year following the 20th anniversary of our establishment, we opened an Imaging Diagnostic Center here in Vladivostok. The people of Sanatorium Stroitel in Vladivostok, which is the location and the business partner of the project, had high expectations for Japanese medical services, and that was the big factor that influenced our investment decision.
To introduce Japanese-made CT and MRI scanners to this place and start early treatment with early detection techniques we have developed over the past 20 years, that is to say to develop secondary prevention medicine, in the Russian Far East can contribute to the improvement of medical care quality in Vladivostok. Based on this notion, Japanese medical staff members of Hokuto and Russian doctors started this collaboration.
The Imaging Diagnostic Center marked its fifth anniversary this year, and more than thirty thousand people from Vladivostok have visited there already. Last year, in 2017, more than eight thousand people used it, which is a record high.
In May 2018, we opened a rehabilitation center in Vladivostok, in a joint venture with JGC Corporation from Japan. By training the Russian rehabilitation physicians by Japanese physicians at Hokuto Japan for a couple of months, and by giving technical guidance and advice to them by the seconded Japanese physicians from Hokuto at our Rehabilitation Center, Vladivostok, we are providing Japanese-style rehabilitation to the local patients in Vladivostok. Patients more than the available capacity have visited there, and we are now trying to increase the number of Russian rehabilitation physicians to educate, that is to say the expansion of the rehabilitation we can provide.
Which technology is the best to expand the range of humanitys possibilities?
In recent medicine, vast quantities of data or so-called Big Data are generated through medical image diagnostic apparatus and cancer gene analysis. By analyzing Big Data using AI or Human intelligence + AI, it will be possible to suggest the most optimal treatment to patients. We define this kind of medicine as «Precision Medicine», and we are considering to shift from existing preventive medicine to a medicine full of innovation.
Hokuto Hospital started introducing next-generation genetic analysis device in 2013 and we have implemented cancer genome medicine. The technology of nuclear medicine is imperative in order to develop this «Precision Medicine». To put it concretely, it is PET cancer diagnosis. Hokuto Hospital introduced the latest digital PET last year and have made considerable achievements in cancer diagnosis. We think we are going to achieve introduction of PET in Vladivostok and develop «Precision Medicine» or personalized medicine in the Russian Far East in the future.