- Japan is at the forefront of super-aging, with 28% of citizens aged 65 and older in 2018, and has motivated the government to begin re-shaping its medical system based on data and digital-first products.
- The Government’s aim is to improve the healthcare system by transferring medical records from paper to digital, and collecting data for AI analytics tools, according to the Growth Strategy 2018 (Japan’s New Economic Policy Package).
- The pooling of patient data will also open up new areas of medicine, such as genome-level diagnosis and other applications.
Analysis & Comments
- Given the countries pronounced and well known demographic aging issues, it is no surprise that Japan is at the forefront of digital healthcare.
- Unlike some other markets, the problem in Japan is not just cost, it’s a shortage of “human resources”, i.e. people to actually do the work of caring for elderly patients.
- In addition, because the motivation is at least partly around creating a better system of healthcare, rather than just cost cutting, the processes and technologies developed could have a greater application in the dual public/private environment in Europe.
- Whatever way you look at this problem (via a private or public pay model) – it is clear to us that digital health care has an encouraging future.
- Japan is far from the only country facing this issue. In fact, we think Japan is the playbook, not the exception. While demographic trends in the US, the UK and France are more resilient, the rest of the eurozone and eastern Europe face significant challenges. China is mirroring Japan with a 25-year lag; its working population has now peaked.