Every year, the medical industry gathers to participate in a global conference called Health 2.0. The purpose of the conference is to introduce the global medical community to the newest technology inventions that will improve patient care. At the most recent conference held in Tokyo, five Japanese healthcare startups received honors for their most recent innovations:
Many people who desperately need medical attention avoid it because they are dissatisfied with the prior healthcare services they received, including the doctors’ treatment plans and diagnoses. Clintal aims to solve this problem by offering Japanese residents the option to search for a skilled doctor based on the disease for which they need treatment and their ability to access that physician. Currently, the platform has 500 doctors onboard, and it is working to list the top three percent of the 250,000 doctors providing healthcare in Japan by the end of 2016.
Symax is making waves in Japanese healthcare with their toilet sensor that can analyze urine on a daily basis. As it processes the urine, it is able to detect diseases such as gout and diabetes with 99% accuracy, and then it displays the results on a mobile app. The hope is that with the sensors in place, chronic diseases will be diagnosed in the early stages, when they are still treatable. The company wants to help healthcare delivery in Japan by providing sensors to both residential and commercial consumers, such as nursing homes or employers looking to track their employees’ health.
Three-dimensional printing is a new healthcare technology that is making its way to Japan thanks to a company called Exiii. They have developed a way to print a myoelectric arm/hand aptly named Handiii. While artificial arms are available today, they are very expensive (about 1.5 million yen or approximately 13,000 USD at the time this article was written) and cannot be personalized. Exiii hopes to improve the Japanese healthcare options by offering a customizable limb that only costs 30,000 yen to produce (a retail price has yet to be established). Users will be able to select from several colors and textures—such as bronze, black and textured grey—as well as add on a built-in watch. They will also be able to choose which functions they want the hand to complete in order to give the patient an artificial arm that fits their exact needs.
It is believed that as many as 38% of Japanese people use supplements on a daily basis, and Dricos wants to get their share of this 1.5 trillion yen (approximately 13 billion USD at the time of writing the article) market. Their major innovation is a HealthServer that makes personalized supplement drinks according to the needs of the user. The device gathers information about the user’s health either by taking data from a wearable device or by reading the biomedical signals from the person touching the machine. The device then prepares a beverage with the nutrients that the person is lacking.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can cause many health problems, including headaches, chest pain, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and so much more. This is becoming an issue in the Japanese healthcare market, as Cocololo believes over 70% of companies in the country have employees being affected by stress. Their solution is a smartphone application that can read a person’s level of stress simply by performing a finger scan with the phone’s camera. Once the result is shown, the app will then recommend calming music options and spa coupons based on the level of stress it detects.
These startups are just a glimpse into what healthcare technologies are emerging in Japan. These and other Japanese healthcare ventures could potentially benefit from partnerships with overseas investors. To learn more about joint ventures in Japan, contact Pacific Century Ventures.