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Corporate InformationSustainability

The SDGs and the Healthcare Business Unit

Healthcare Business Unit
Ensuring Healthier Lives for People Worldwide
Through Hitachi's Solutions
Masaya Watanabe
Vice President and Executive Officer
CEO of Healthcare Business Unit

Collaborating with a Wide Range of Local Stakeholders to Eliminate Healthcare Disparities

Healthcare is a core theme of the SDGs. A healthy population is the foundation for a sustainable society, and the Healthcare Business Unit contributes to achieving that objective by providing a range of healthcare equipment and solutions globally, including diagnostic imaging systems, in vitro diagnostics, particle beam therapy systems, radiation therapy systems, and smart operating rooms.

With global population over 7 billion and still growing, regional disparities in healthcare levels and welfare systems are an increasingly visible issue. Despite support for the ideal of universal health coverage (UHC) providing basic healthcare to everyone in the world, for around 800 million impoverished people in developing countries, healthcare costs consume 10% of household income, affecting quality of life. Our unit aims to resolve this issue.

Meanwhile, in developed countries, aging populations are burdening state finances with increased social security costs. Japan in particular has become the world's first “super-aging society.” This has placed its universal insurance scheme in peril, but has also inspired trials of other measures to keep healthcare costs down, like regional comprehensive care and in-home medical care. To ensure that quality of life is increased even as costs are reduced, it is necessary to extend not just the average lifespan but the healthy lifespan. New initiatives in health and productivity management and data-analysis services are beginning to address this, and our business unit contributes to these activities broadly.

Resolving the diversifying healthcare issues of each region is our responsibility, and we see business opportunities both in contributing to cutting-edge healthcare and helping increase healthcare levels in emerging powers. In Japan, both the government and healthcare providers are actively seeking to bring the country's healthcare to emerging powers, which helps our unit's business expand globally.

In the context of these business opportunities, recognizing issues for healthcare providers through medical-engineering cooperation and collaboratively creating innovation with a wide range of technology are among Hitachi's strengths. Another strength for us is our practice of combining all our abilities to contribute to the Social Innovation Business as a whole, rather than simply selling equipment or solutions.

For example, management know-how is widely sought after for major projects in emerging powers, and Hitachi's approach makes it possible to respond to this demand. For emerging powers, pricing is also an issue, and the most appropriate solution must be found for each region's needs. Through collaborative regional activities, we have gradually developed the ability to deeply understand each individual market.

Healthcare is a social system, and it is impossible to ignore the complex relationships between the wide range of stakeholders, including governments, citizens, and healthcare institutions, and regulations on pharmaceutical and other industries. A single mistake could affect the entire system. To reduce those risks, we take measures such as closely examining how medical data is handled during its use.

In both emerging powers and developing countries, healthcare systems and nationwide healthcare service provision are improving at a rapid pace. Providing medical equipment that meets regional needs is vital to this improvement, of course, but so are other factors such as maintenance service schemes and human capital development and training. Hitachi contributes to regional communities in a range of ways; for example, in Indonesia, we support the development of clinical laboratory technicians. Meanwhile, in the capitals and major cities of emerging powers and developing countries, cutting-edge healthcare is rapidly being deployed; in fiscal 2017, we received orders for particle therapy systems. We expect this business to help the Hitachi brand take root firmly in these regions.

Emerging powers and developing countries aim to deploy Japan's advanced healthcare systems in their own territories. Our business unit will continue working with not only healthcare providers and governments but also Medical Excellence JAPAN (MEJ), an organization that promotes the international advancement of health and healthcare, to encourage this. For example, we are currently collaborating with Tokyo Medical and Dental University on a program to create an AI model of specialist medical knowledge of intractable diseases. We believe this could become a viable business not just in Japan but also in emerging powers and developing countries.

Emphasizing Business that Resolve Social Issues to Achieve Goal 3

Our business unit is focused on Goal 3 of the SDGs: Good health and well being. To achieve this target, it is also necessary to address Goals 1 and 2, which call for the elimination of poverty and hunger. Additionally, as noted above, UHC will require professional development for healthcare providers, making the quality education called for by Goal 4 a necessity. We also contribute to the realization of a wide range of other SDGs through partnerships with stakeholders and provision of environmentally responsible healthcare equipment. Because our business is directly connected to Goal 3, in the past we have tended to emphasize provision of products to customers. Going forward, we will manage our business with more focus on finding the correct solution for each individual challenge, based on our understanding of social issues.

Key SDGs for Our Business Unit

Hitachi's Smart Operating Room Solution Helps Achieve Goal 3