Dr. Koichi Ito – A Japanese thyroid expert in Tokyo

Ito Hospital was established in 1937 when my grandfather decided he would like to focus exclusively on treating patients with thyroid diseases. In 1959, my father became the next director and in 1998 I took over as the third generation’s director of our hospital. Over the past 76 years, we have focused exclusively on treating patients with thyroid diseases. I believe, when it comes to thyroid problems, there is no better place than Ito Hospital for diagnoses and treatments. In addition, there is no better place for the people who are interested and engaged in thyroid diseases.

All of our staff aim in the same direction, which is one of our biggest strengths, but at the same time, this can also become a weakness. If someone moves in the same direction all of the time, there is a risk that it may stem progress, create complacency and boredom. This is where, as a private hospital, we are able to capitalize on our merits by keeping up with the latest medical technology and trends, and create a challenging and stimulating environment. Some examples include the introduction of quick inspection before meeting with the doctors, issue of newsletter by our staff to the patients, and ISO9001 certification and acquisition. Furthermore, as we have indefinitely preserved our patient charts since the establishment of Ito Hospital, we transferred the paper-based charts to electronic charts and preserve the deteriorating paper charts on to microfilm. Through this process, we have continued to progress and innovate while keeping our tradition.

Medical tourism is also one of our challenges. In our hospital, we have eagerly worked on academic research. We have participated in domestic and overseas academic medical conferences contributing English papers. We have also performed daily diagnosis and treatment for international patients in our facilities. It was a great experience that I was chosen as a member of the “In-bound Medical Tourism Research Committee” by the Ministry of Tourism in 2009. It was stimulating for me to visit hospitals overseas and to participate as a monitor hospital during my term. In the next year of 2010, Mr. Hompo, the Minister of Tourism, came to our hospital to conduct a study session. This was a wonderful shared experience for our staff and me.

We have prepared leaflets and our homepage in several languages, and in 2011 we hired a native Chinese staff who has Korean language skills. He has also passed the Japanese language proficiency exams. He is currently doing interpretation in addition to translation of documents and trying to assist staff with other foreign-languages to communicate with each other smoothly. We did not engage in medical tourism with any specific intention at first, but we have learned a lot by tackling it again.

Dr. Koichi Ito (Director of Ito Hospital) A Japanese thyroid expert in Tokyo.

He graduated from Kitasato University School of Medicine and Tokyo Women’s Medical College-Graduate School. Since becoming a doctor, he has focused his studies on the treatment and research of thyroid diseases such as Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, and thyroid cancer. He has published many books about thyroid diseases.

He has taught at Tokyo Women’s Medical College and Tsukuba University Graduate School and has been a visiting professor at Japan Medical College and Ryoutokuji University.

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