What is a patient referral system?

This is a system where at metropolitan hospitals, excepting emergencies, patients must receive a referral to a hospital from their present medical institution where they receive primary care in order to be admitted for treatment.

Primary care physician is to whom you can freely discuss your health and your illness, who is available nearby for you to receive treatment from when your condition is afflicted.

Primary care doctors may, if in the course of detailed testing they deem it necessary for a patient to have higher-level care, refer them to a specialist at a hospital who is an expert in the care they need.

If a patient requires a referral for a specialist, the primary care provider will write out an introduction (a patient referral form) detailing the treatment and condition, and will pass it along.

Patients then make an appointment at the hospital they were referred to, taking their referral along to receive treatment.

This is what is known as the patient referral system.

Why do metropolitan hospitals use the patient referral system?

The reason that metropolitan hospitals have adopted the patient referral system is based on the thinking that this evens out treatment capacity to regional medical institutions and primary care providers, and is intended to provide the most suitable care for patients who are in true need of high-level specialist care.

For this reason, metropolitan hospitals work in tandem with regional medical institutions so as to smoothly facilitate introductions to hospitals. Naturally, in emergencies you do not need a referral for care.

What are regional medical support hospitals?

The Tama General Medicine Center is a regional medical support hospital serving the Tama region.

Regional medical support hospitals fulfill one part of an entire body of medical facility functions, and from the perspective that having doctors nearby in the region patients live is a desirable thing, for referred patients, through the shared use of medical providers and medical devices, they are the first line of regional care, relying on primary care doctors, primary dentists and so on for support, as a hospital that secures medical treatment throughout the region and offers suitable equipment to function thereof; and are individually approved by the governors of each prefecture.

This balances out the tendency for patients to be gathered only in large-scale hospitals, and also serves to bring down waiting times for treatment as well as providing ample guidance for patients requiring specialized care. The role that regional hospitals provide in community medicine is clear.

For that reason, the Tama General Medicine Center first requires you receive treatment at your local or primary care provider, and if as a result of your tests they deem it necessary that you require specialist care, as a rule they will write a referral for you to receive care at a hospital.

We ask for your kind understanding in these matters.

What if I don't have a referral?

At metropolitan hospitals, as a rule, if you do not have an introduction to a hospital, your medical fees will increase and you will be incur other fees as a non-referral patient on an introductory basis.

We ask for your cooperation and understanding in using the metropolitan hospitals' patient referral system.

What if I don't have a primary care doctor?

The benefit of having a primary care provider is that they are someone you continually see and who manages your health condition. If you need daily treatment, depending on your existing conditions and what medicines you take, and understanding your family and living environment, they will make general assessments and if necessary, refer you to the best hospital where you can receive the treatment you need.

For that reason, it is crucial to have a primary care provider.

If you do not currently have a primary care provider, check with your family and friends around you for a nearby doctor and start managing your health.

What is an ER?

At metropolitan hospitals, these are areas centered completely on patients where you can safely receive care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, whenever, whomever, and in response to a variety of medical situations. The Tama General Medicine Center opened as a Tokyo emergency room and Tama (General) medical center as a means to enhance emergency medical systems overall.

*"ER" is short for "emergency room" in English, where you can receive emergency care.

Treatment for patients needing emergency care will depend on the severity of their situation.
1) Level 1 emergency patients are those who have a lighter injury that does not require hospitalization; patients who require surgery are deemed Level 2 emergency patients
2) For patients with life-threatening illnesses or severe injury, they will be rated as a Level 3 emergency patient and immediately taken for high-level care (emergency center)
Emergencies are determined as thus.

This system is in place owing to the limited number of staff and equipment that can be effectively provided in an emergency.

The ER was built for patients who have emergencies to come anytime, whomever they are, for various emergencies. Care for Level 1 and Level 2 emergency patients requires an "emergency treatment fee" , and Level 3 patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries are handled at the "emergency center" , where a full-time doctor is on call.

For those coming to the hospital, first a nurse will ask about your situation, determining what your symptoms are and if the severity of your condition requires more immediate care. For that reason, the order of care may shift around depending on severity of symptoms, and in cases where patients are coming in with extremely severe injuries, you may have to wait some hours to finally receive treatment.

What kind of care do you receive at the ER?

At the ER, to offer an environment that provides the fastest and most effective emergency care with the number of staff and equipment available, we have implemented the following policies for treatment.

  1. The ER is for emergencies only. We do not administer general care. For specialist care, you must visit the hospital another time or be referred to a different medical institution.
  2. Depending on symptoms and condition, we may not be able to handle your treatment.
    For treatment, please call ahead of time at 042-323-5111 to confirm.
  3. Depending on your symptoms, you may be bumped up or down in order for treatment. Depending on conditions you may be waiting some hours for treatment.
  4. As treatment in the ER is first-aid response and emergency testing, as a rule any medicine you are given will only be prescribed for a single day.
  5. Even if it is necessary for you to be hospitalized, depending on how many beds are available, you may be transferred to a different hospital.
  6. Please check on available treatment on holidays and at night.
Additionally, for those with chronic diseases or who are on medication, it is extremely important that you share information related to your treatment with your doctor, such as what treatment you are receiving and what medicine you are taking.

If the patient themselves is unable to speak, we ask the cooperation of family members or surrounding persons to bring the patient’s medicine and medicine bags, so as to correctly inform the doctor about any information related to their treatment.