Life Science & Health

Home to world-class research institutes, a highly educated workforce, and an excellent healthcare system, the Netherlands is a strong partner in life science & health. Dutch scientists and health experts share their knowledge and partner with colleagues in Japan and countries around the globe.

Life Science Health

Dutch-Japanese research leads to scientific breakthrough

Working together with Japanese researchers, Dutch biomedical scientist Hans Clevers was able to do ground breaking research on growing stem cells. For this, Clevers and his Japanese research associate Prof. dr. Tadamitsu Kishimoto received the prestigious Keio Medical Science Prize in 2019. Watch an interview on YouTube with Hans Clevers on the occasion of winning the Keio Medical Science Prize.

Life Science Health Task Force

Task Force Health Care; Partnering in Life Science and Health

The ‘Task Force Health Care’ is a platform where Dutch companies, innovative Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and knowledge institutes team-up. Together with the Embassy in Tokyo, the platform organizes every year a Life Science and Health (LSH) Mission to Japan. The LSH Mission is organized around the Japanese Life Science & Health weeks in October, where participants will have partnering opportunities at various conferences, like Bio Japan, Regenerative Japan, Health Tech Japan in Tokyo and Biotech & Pharma Partnering Conference in Osaka. From 2020, this LSH Mission will likely keep the hybrid style and Dutch LSH organizations are invited for a digital & physical participation. For more information, go to the Taskforce Healthcare Mission 2020, Mission 2019

Buurtzorg in Japan
Image: ©Buurtzorg

Buurtzorg Services in Japan: fewer rules, more care

Self-managing teams of homecare workers who decide what care is needed without any involvement by management: the Buurtzorg recipe. In 2014 Buurtzorg Nederland branched out to Japan, providing homecare in certain parts of Tokyo and Osaka in collaboration with the local Saint-Care homecare organisation.

‘In many Asian countries people go to the hospital for healthcare, and only receive help with housework at home,’ says Thijs de Blok of Buurtzorg Asia. ‘Japan is one of the few countries in Asia with a history of homecare.’ In 2014 King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima paid a state visit to Japan. Buurtzorg Nederland also went along, and signed a contract with Saint-Care, one of the largest homecare providers in the Tokyo region. The idea was to provide community care (‘buurtzorg’) according to the same principles as in the Netherlands, adapted to local circumstances.

Better care
Normally, a care manager will perform an assessment to determine what a client needs, and the homecare worker will carry out their instructions. Buurtzorg does things differently. Care professionals decide what is needed, without any interference by management. This gives nurses and other care professionals more freedom to do their job, without having to do unnecessary things that have been decided by others. ‘We look at all the factors that improve quality of life,’ says Thijs, ‘so our clients receive better care.’

Strong ties
When establishing Buurtzorg Services Japan, Thijs noticed the strong ties between the Netherlands and Japan. ‘Because of the many twin city links and trade relations, there is immediately a bond of trust.’ Thirteen teams consisting of seven to twelve nurses now provide care in and around Tokyo.

Knowledge exchange
Japanese healthcare workers visited the Netherlands to shadow community care workers there. ‘Japanese healthcare professionals are highly trained,’ says Thijs. ‘The Japanese are also accustomed to doing things for their friends, family and neighbours. That meant our concept would work there.’ He coached and trained Japanese staff so they could work in self-managing teams. ‘It requires you to look at the care system in a different way, and that can take a lot of getting used to.’ Thijs thinks there are further opportunities for Buurtzorg in Japan. ‘The more care we provide in people’s homes, the less pressure on hospitals. We have by no means reached our full potential in Japan yet.’