Process Innovation at Station-Centric Clinics(Part 1 of 2)
Tetsuya Tanimoto, M.D. Physician,
Medical Governance Research Institute
In June 2023, I had the honor of being named President of the Medical Corporation Tetsui-kai Accessible Railway Medical Services. We are at the forefront of urban healthcare, operating clinics strategically located within the bustling hubs of Tachikawa and Shinjuku stations in Tokyo, and Kawasaki Station in Kanagawa Prefecture. Our vision is to integrate medical services seamlessly into the daily commute of the populace.
This year, our Navitas Clinic celebrates two significant milestones: 15 years since its inception and a decade of corporate operation. Our foundation was laid with the innovative insights from Dr. Masahiro Kami, the erstwhile special professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science, now leading the NPO Medical Governance Research Institute in Tokyo, and Mr. Hiroshi Kan Suzuki, a past member of the House of Councillors and former Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, who now imparts knowledge at the University of Tokyo and Keio University as a distinguished professor.
Tokyo, a metropolis replete with high-end medical facilities such as university hospitals, often finds itself grappling with an insufficient capacity for handling common illnesses. Clinics with limited operational hours or those inconveniently situated in residential zones distant from transit points impose on patients the necessity of taking extensive time away from their daily commitments, leading to protracted wait times and accessibility barriers. This situation led to the supposition that, even in a city teeming with medical professionals, there could exist a silent majority of “medical refugees” suffering from ordinary ailments.
Therefore, we crafted a business model to inaugurate clinics within station complexes, focusing on primary care. This model caters specifically to the needs of working adults, women, and children, providing them with the convenience of accessing healthcare facilities on their daily transit paths. By extending operational hours into the evening and minimizing wait times, we have significantly heightened the convenience for our patients.