Healthcare Innovation driven by Effective Hospital-bed Reductions and Urban Planning
- Yukiko ITO
Professor, College of Policy Studies, Tsuda University
1. Effective Methodology for Hospital-bed Reductions under Decreasing City Size
Even under decreasing city population, we still have many hospital-beds and long hospital stays, and this misallocation of healthcare resources is a severe problem for Japan. To solve this problem, it is important to make hospital-bed reductions a profitable and productivity-increasing choice for hospital owners and local governments.
We will first investigate the records of health-related investments in various cities to determine their motivations and outcomes. Based on this analysis, we will propose some methodologies to replace hospital services with other health-promotive activities by non-hospital sectors.
2. Promotion of Heath Investments Driven by Local Open Database of Healthcare
For investors from non-hospital sectors, it is difficult to utilize excessive hospital-bed spaces. This is because property rights are often ambiguous and most of the local healthcare records are not used for policy formations and urban planning. We are therefore planning to make key information public in the form of Local Open Database (LOD) under the collaboration of some hospitals and cities.
Compared with the average figures of OECD nations, the number of hospital beds in Japan is 2.8 times more and the hospital stays are 2.1 times longer. These excess especially harm the sustainable productivity of middle-size cities (with population size of 100,000~300,000) where the secondary-level acute medical cares are provided. Given the decreasing population, it is essential to reduce hospital beds effectively.
The central governments, who are aware of the fiscal deficits due to the excessive medical facilities, have proposed several plans to make hospital functions more concentrated and compact. However, the local governments and hospitals are afraid of losing local industrial activities and customers of medical services. In short, they have little incentives to solve the problems caused by excessive beds, and resolving this issue is the goal of this project.
We are therefore planning to propose a methodology for healthcare innovation driven by effective hospital-bed reductions and urban planning. We would like to make the reduction both effective and productivity-increasing for the cities. The two (inter-connected) objectives of our projects are (1) the development of methodology for effective bed reductions, and (2) investments using local open database of healthcare services.
We will first propose some methodologies to replace hospital services with other health-promotive activities by non-hospital sectors, based on prior outcomes of investments in middle-sized cities. We will next try to make key information public in the form of Local Open Database (LOD) under the collaboration of some hospitals and cities. The records of healthcare services are important marketing resources to be utilized for new investment opportunities.
We also plan to integrate our knowledge and trials in specific cities into more generalized knowhow. For example, we plan to create a list of information to be collected and analyzed, and a list of the legal procedures and contracts to be followed. Such knowhow would help cities to conduct policies in an efficient way.