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The Vanguard of Community-based Integrated Care in Japan: The Effect of a Rural Town on National Policy

10 May 2017

Introduction: Japan has the largest percentage of elderly people in the world. In 2012 the government implemented a community-based integrated care system which provides seamless community healthcare resources for elderly people with chronic diseases and disabilities. 

Methods: This paper describes the challenges of establishing a community-based integrated care system in 1974 in Mitsugi, a rural town of Japan. This system has influenced the government and become the model for the nationwide system. 

Results: In the 1970s, Mitsugi’s aging population was growing faster than Japan’s, but elder care was fragmented among a variety of service sections. A community-based integrated care system evolved because of the small but aging population size and the initiative of some local leaders of medical care and politics. After the system took effect, the proportion of bedridden people and medical care costs for the elderly dropped in Mitsugi while it continued to rise everywhere else in Japan. Mitsugi’s community-based integrated care system is now shaping national policy. 

Conclusion: Mitsugi is in the vanguard of Japan’s community-based integrated care system. The case showed the community-based integrated care system can diffuse from rural to urban areas. 

Published on 2017-04-27 16:07:10

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Integrated Care