Bringing smiles through human connections: community support for tomorrow’s healthcare.

Bringing smiles through human connections: community support for tomorrow’s healthcare.

The concept of community-based healthcare has become well-known to the public. Demand is growing for medical care that is tailored to local conditions, but the challenges are no less daunting. Consultants Tomo Inoue and Nao Shibata examine the role that 3Rock should play in this area.

Tackling a Wide Range of Medical Issues

Inoue: There are many key stakeholders in community health, including medical institutions, regional governments, corporate and other health insurers, and local legislators. And on the industry side, there are pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, IT and consulting companies, and so on. Each has a different field of expertise, so even if they focus on the same healthcare issues, it is difficult to find common approaches and solutions.

Shibata: So that’s where we come in.

Inoue: Yes. Although our projects are diverse, the starting point for most is to formulate a hypothesis based on an understanding of the current situation, with an eye on the goals that the client is aiming for. We look at the whole picture, identify which stakeholders are important, what are the drivers, and what are the hurdles to better care. Armed with ideas for solutions, we inform, connect, and work with local governments and medical professionals. By building a large framework in this way, we aim to contribute to regional healthcare.

Shibata: I have an image that we try to do for healthcare companies is what they cannot do alone – or what is very difficult to do.

Inoue: I think our strength is that we can commit from a neutral, third-party standpoint while collaborating with many stakeholders.

Shibata: IT-based businesses such as healthcare apps are also attracting attention. To make these work as a business, is it better to provide medical treatment that is reimbursed, or should the app itself be free of charge, with profits earned from something associated with it? We need to consider various aspects, such as the economic situations of the parties involved, the management perspective of medical institutions, and the burden of medical expenses on local governments.

The medical industry needs the power of DX

Inoue: I am now specifically involved in a project related to cancer screening. One of the challenges in community health is that information sharing among municipalities is insufficient and know-how is not accumulated. This is why we are researching and developing advanced case studies from across the country. We believe that this will promote early detection and diagnosis on a nationwide scale and contribute to the improvement of the health of citizens.

Shibata: One project I am involved in is an initiative to digitize the treatment processes for mental health, including developmental disorders and depression. Some healthcare companies have a strong interest in IT/digitalization as a new field of business. Although the final form of the output has not yet been finalized, we have progressed to the stage of preparing for actual system utilization.

Inoue: IT companies such as those developing apps are also important stakeholders in community health. The barriers to entry in the medical industry are high, and many companies may not know how to enter the healthcare field, even if they have technological capabilities.

Shibata: In such cases, we would like to encourage them to discuss that with us.

Clients appreciate our steady efforts over a long period of time.

Inoue: Community health initiatives may not produce objective numbers or tangible results in a short period of time. In one project in a certain disease area, we made a great effort to identify existing issues where collaboration was not going well, researching and accumulating these over time……. And we were happy to receive repeat requests from our client, who appreciated our efforts.

Shibata: In the mental health project I mentioned earlier, we have continued for several years listening to many people in the medical and welfare fields, government agencies, and other related parties. We are still only partway there, but even though we sometimes stumble, we are starting to see the project take shape little by little, which makes me happy.

Inoue: There are other companies that provide analysis and proposals, but I don’t think there are many companies like ours that can provide comprehensive support all the way through to implementation. In reality, it is not so easy to connect various stakeholders such as medical professionals, local governments, and insurers.

Shibata: I don’t think the role of coordinating, or rather matching, regions, organizations, and institutions from a broad perspective is well defined in the medical industry. For example, a hospital’s Regional Coordination Office is mainly responsible for coordinating patients’ post-discharge care and introducing support organizations, but this work can be ad-hoc and limited by local habit. Medical treatment handover also often does not go smoothly, as the sharing of medical information is difficult and time-consuming due to regional differences and the wide range of professions involved.

Inoue: That is why this is a job that someone has to do – and we are responsible for it. Every day I am reminded of the social significance of our work. If there are people out there who think, “I want to contribute to local medical care!”, then I want to work together with them!

The network we have cultivated through our projects is our asset.

Shibata: Hospitals, communities, and patients. Ideally, we would like to create a system that does not skew the benefits to any particular person, but makes everyone involved happy. I always try to think from a bird’s eye view, imagining each person’s position.

Inoue: I also think it is important to have a “cause” that influences both why we are working and what we are working on.

Shibata: So you are not just pursuing profit, but from the very first meeting, you are conveying the messages that “we can create a better medical system” and “we can contribute to society.

Inoue: That’s right. At first, people may think, “who are you again?” But as we talk, they begin to respond with comments like “that’s interesting,” “that’s important work,” and “come and see us anytime”. It is not uncommon for doctors and local government officials to contact us after a project is over, and those relationships continue. Such connections are an invaluable asset for us.

Shibata: I feel that our strengths can be utilized in the future development of community health services.

Inoue: In recent years, there is an increasing emphasis on disease prevention, from the viewpoint that “there is nothing better than not getting sick in the first place”. This trend is likely to intensify, so I expect that our involvement will increase in areas such as medical education to promote disease awareness, medical collaboration, and early diagnosis using AI.

Shibata: What I have realized since becoming involved in community health work is that today’s medical care is not something that can be handled completely within a hospital. We live in an age where people must care for themselves in their daily lives, and also rely on support from those around them when facing illnesses. I am confident in 3Rock’s progress to date, which has been based on the importance of human connections, and I would like to further develop the company in this way.

Tomo Inoue – Consultant (Community Healthcare)

In his previous position at a major foreign pharmaceutical company, Tomo was also involved in community healthcare, working with many stakeholders to support the introduction of patient subsidy and disease awareness programs in the areas he was in charge of. He joined 3Rock because he wanted to make a deeper and wider commitment to community healthcare, rather than focusing on activities that only involve a single company’s products. Since joining 3Rock, he has been involved in the research and analysis of local medical issues, as well as in the management of cross-functional projects for pharmaceutical companies. He works with many stakeholders including pharmaceutical companies, local governments, medical institutions, and legislators to solve local healthcare issues.

Nao Shibata – Consultant (Community Healthcare)

Utilizing her qualifications as a licensed psychologist and clinical psychologist, Nao is mainly in charge of mental health-related projects. In her previous jobs, she was engaged in both research and clinical practice in the field of psychiatric care, and has been involved in psychological testing, psychotherapy, professional training & development, and community collaboration – all areas that have led to her current work.


Please feel free to contact us for details on our services and seminars.

Inquiry form
Contact Us
Inquiries by phone
Reception hours: 10:00-18:00 on weekdays