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[Event Report] Health Policy Summit 2021 (May 22, 2021)

[Event Report] Health Policy Summit 2021 (May 22, 2021)

******** The full report was published on August 24, 2021.
For more information, please refer to the PDF.

On May 22, 2021, Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) held Health Policy Summit 2021 using a hybrid format in which guests participated both in-person at the venue in Tokyo and online.

The event included four sessions, which were entitled “Examining the Ideal Future Structure of the Healthcare Provision System and Addressing Issues Highlighted by COVID-19,” “Health Policy and Economic Dynamics of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” “The Future of Healthcare DX,” and “Global Panel on the Roles of Science and Politics During National Emergencies.” Participants deepened discussions on each subject by sharing their perspectives on potential solutions to issues as well as their hopes and expectations.

Welcome Remarks

Norihisa Tamura (Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare)

Explanatory introduction

Ryoji Noritake (Board Member and CEO, HGPI)

Session 1: Examining the Ideal Future Structure of the Healthcare Provision System and Addressing Issues Highlighted by COVID-19

Although Japan’s National Health Insurance system is well established, the pressure being placed on healthcare services by COVID-19 has made more people than ever before aware of the fact that medical resources are finite. The pandemic has also brought to the fore the challenges facing Japan’s healthcare delivery system. There is an ongoing debate on how to strike a balance between the sudden but temporary increase in demand for healthcare services during pandemics and disasters, and the increase in demand for healthcare and nursing care due to ageing. There are also discussions over the roles healthcare entities, professionals, and the government should play. In Session 1, each leader shared opinions from their own position and deepened the discussion on the ideal healthcare provision system for meeting future needs based on experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryozo Nagai (Board Member, HGPI; President, Jichi Medical University)
Toshio Nakagawa (President, Japan Medical Association)
Masami Sakoi (Director, Health Policy Bureau, MHLW)
Hiroe Takahashi (President, Osaka Nursing Association; District Director, Japanese Nursing Association)

Kohei Onozaki (Board Member, HGPI; Professor, Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health, St. Luke’s International University)

Lunch session: Health Policy and Economic Dynamics of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Professor Yusuke Tsugawa shared insights on the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan and around the world based on a vast amount of scientific evidence and data.

Yusuke Tsugawa (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine (Internal Medicine) and Graduate School of Public Health (Medical Policy), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Board Member, HGPI)

Session 2: The Future of Healthcare DX

COVID-19 also showed that Japan has much progress left to make in digitalization. Managing data on infected people at public health centers, issuing economic stimulus payments, and other such initiatives require an enormous amount of information processing. However, systems for each data gathering, data management, and policy implementation process were not completely compatible with existing guidelines. This increased workloads and made it difficult for everyone involved to operate quickly and efficiently. The digital transformation (DX) of Japanese society promoted by a digital agency is likely to ensure future innovation in Japan by building a user-friendly digital social infrastructure and overcome various issues regarding personal information protection (a topic of great interest among those who handle Personal Health Records (PHR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) which has been discussed in the medical field for many years), data sharing, and the use of real-world data. At Session 2, we discussed the potential of healthcare DX from various fields and examined the best way forward.

Kazuto Ataka (Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University; CSO, Yahoo Japan Corporation)
Takuya Hirai (Minister for Digital Transformation; Minister in charge of Information Technology Policy; Minister of State for the Social Security and Tax Number System, Cabinet Office)
Tomohiro Kuroda (CIO, Kyoto University Hospital; Professor, Medical Informatics in Graduate School of Medicine and Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University)
Satoko Shisai (Vice President, Head of Digital & IT Supervisory Division, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.)

Seigo Hara (CEO, MICIN, Inc.; Fellow, HGPI)


Session 3: Global Panel on the Roles of Science and Politics During National Emergencies

Political leadership is an essential element for overcoming national crises such as the spread of emerging infectious diseases. This year is also marked ten years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station. The role of the Government is expanded in the face of disasters, accidents, and the unchecked spread of emerging infectious diseases, but what roles should we really expect of politics and science? Furthermore, are we really making the most out of the lessons history has taught us? COVID-19 drew attention to leadership in each country. However, even countries that have successfully separated politics and science in the past are now facing criticism for not ensuring the independence of decision-making processes in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, people around the world are still attempting to overcome the uncertain circumstances facing us through trial and error. In Session 3, we asked what roles politicians and scientists should fulfill, what their responsibilities are for providing explanations, and how they should engage in transparent communication with the public when Governments make policy decisions during unprecedented crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. We also asked what kinds of preparations and verification systems will enable politicians and scientists to have mutual respect and involvement. These issues were examined from a global field of view and include perspectives from abroad.

Kiyoshi Kurokawa (Chairman, HGPI)
Norio Ohmagari (Director, Department of Infectious Diseases, National Center for Global Health and Medicine)
Shigeru Omi (President, Japan Community Health care Organization (JCHO); Chairperson, Committee for the Promotion of Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response)
Peter Piot (Senior Fellow, HGPI; Director and Professor of Global Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

Ryoji Noritake (Board Member and CEO, HGPI)


Closing Remarks
Kiyoshi Kurokawa (Chairman, HGPI)

HGPI Chairman Kiyoshi Kurokawa expressed his gratitude to participants and shared his thoughts on the coming era.

Hosted by: Health and Global Policy Institute
Co-hosted by:
 National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) Global Health Innovation Policy Program
Supported by: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)

(Photographed by: Kazunori Izawa)

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