New Challenges for Matsuzawa Hospital in 2016


Happy New Year to everyone.
Until the end of last year, we at Matsuzawa Hospital strove to achieve the goals of accepting all referrals from private medical facilities and of making Matsuzawa Hospital the first-choice care center for patients seeking medical or psychiatric help. Due to these efforts, the acceptance rate of less than 50% for referrals from private medical facilities four years ago rose to 80-90% by the end of last year, and the number of patients willing to recommend our hospital to others for the treatment of afflictions similar to their own rose by nearly a half, allowing us to post our hospital’s management and clinical indices with yet greater confidence in the soundness of our policies.
Thanks to our efforts of the previous year, we are also happy to announce progress in our readiness to be of service to the ever-increasing number of foreign patients who visit our hospital. With the aim of mitigating the stress that our foreign patients might feel during their hospitalization at our facility,
we have translated hospital announcements and information into English, Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish, and Tagalog and installed an electronic system of medical record-keeping. 
My personal efforts until now have been directed towards revising the operational policies of Matsuzawa Hospital to improve our capacity to provide some of the basic services which our patients have come to expect of us. The aim, as I have stated previously, was to improve patient satisfaction and confidence in our services. At the same time, as a hospital run on the hard-earned contributions of tax-payers, including private medical facilities, we feel that it is our moral obligation to accept referrals from these facilities as well. Matsuzawa Hospital’s bed occupancy rate and the number of new inpatients and outpatients have risen considerably while our management indices have also improved significantly, but our motivation for making these changes was not so much the desire to improve hospital administration per se as to meet society’s needs, as we are bound to do as a publicly funded medical facility. This goes to the heart of our mission as a public hospital. However, a “passive response” to such pressures is insufficient to renew or improve society. Even today, patients with mental disorders continue to experience various forms of discrimination, both overt and covert. While it is our duty to respond swiftly to society’s demand that patients creating a social disturbance, say, by raising a ruckus in their apartment and disturbing their neighbors, be hospitalized straightway for treatment, a slight change of perspective suffices to show that the performance of this duty is tantamount to satisfying society’s wish for the speedy removal of such individuals from their midst merely because they are a source of annoyance. For us to be able to demonstrate that the performance of this function ultimately benefits the patients as well, we must ensure that patients are able to cope effectively with living in the community after their discharge.
We would like to think of 2016 as the year marking the inception of Matsuzawa Hospital’s new policy of abandoning the passive stance of merely responding to the needs of patients as they arise and of adopting a more proactive approach of anticipating ‘new’ patient needs by aiming to create a social environment where persons with disabilities can lead their life normally.  First, we are taking the initiative of supporting local health centers to promote medical services in the community. For example, by performing follow-up examinations for adverse drug effects or monitoring serum drug concentrations in patients at Matsuzawa Hospital on behalf of local clinics, we can help improve the treatments that these clinics provide. By making early, voluntary hospitalization available to patients with a non-serious illness or by enabling slight adjustments to medications whenever required, we may succeed in lowering the rate of involuntary hospitalizations. The patient’s regular physician at a local clinic may also take part in treatment during the patient’s stay at Matsuzawa Hospital if he or she so chooses. Second, we aim to improve treatments for medical complications in patients hospitalized at psychiatric specialty hospitals by strengthening our network with other facilities to enable us more quickly to accept referrals and transfer the patients to the most suitable treatment center as needed. Third, we aim to implement novel approaches to psychiatric care at our center while preserving the foundations of the clinical practice that we have built over the years and making our medical practices a matter of public record. In the past three years, we have striven to minimize the suffering induced in patients by the practice of restraining or isolating them. But our efforts do not stop there; we have set for ourselves the challenge of boosting the effectiveness of our care through recreating within our psychiatric ward, as closely as possible, the conditions of life in the greater community. Fourth, we aim to continue improving our administrative practices. We require resources to improve the functioning of Matsuzawa Hospital, and to procure these resources, we need a budget. And to obtain sufficient funds for our aims, we must demonstrate to the taxpayers that we are doing our utmost to improve the efficiency of our operation.
We look forward to receiving your continued input and encouragement this year as well.