Addressing Japan's Healthcare Challenges with Information Technology
August 30, 2011
Japan is facing the long-term policy challenge of an aging society, which requires increasing amounts of healthcare, both high acuity care and long-term chronic care. This need for additional health services in the face of significant national budget deficits—with a national debt approaching 200 percent of GDP—suggests the need to identify and implement new efficiencies in health care services.
Many countries are increasing investments in healthcare information technology (IT) on a national basis to increase efficiency of services, while improving the quality and safety of care. In the United States, healthcare IT investments are foundational to healthcare reform and implementing new payment systems that encourage care coordination and wellness of the aging population, while reducing projected costs. In this paper, the author discusses the possible elements of a major national healthcare IT initiative for consideration by Japanese policymakers. Healthcare IT can support Japan’s long-term nationwide efforts to achieve healthcare efficiency, quality, and safety goals.