When Dr. Hirohisa Kawahara opened his first twenty-bed hospital in Nagoya in 1979, the respected nephrologist may not have imagined that he would someday oversee more than three dozen hospitals and clinics around Japan and one in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Kaikoukai Medical Group network now includes two large hospitals in Nagoya, another hospital in Tokyo, and a rehabilitation hospital and two elderly health care facilities in Nagoya. The sheer diversity of services that Kawahara’s Kaikoukai Medical Group offers—including dialysis, diagnostic imaging, elder care and support as well as chronic and acute care—are matched in scope by the group’s forward-thinking leap into inbound and outbound medical tourism.
Based in Nagoya, Kaikoukai has long been globally recognized for its expertise in dialysis treatment. About three thousand patients are under dialysis at Kaikoukai’s various facilities, placing it in the top three or four by the numbers in Japan. The group’s biggest hospital, Nagoya Kyoritsu Hospital, also offers dialysis, internal medicine, surgery, orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, neurology, gastroenterological medicine, cardiovascular medicine, respiratory medicine, cardiovascular surgery, rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology, nephrology, diabetic medicine, gastroenterological surgery, anesthesiology, and neurosurgery.
According to Tokihiko Sawada, a surgeon and Harvard-trained researcher who now manages the group’s International Strategy Department, Kaikoukai is one of the first Japanese medical groups to establish a medical facility in a foreign country.
“Dr. Kawahara is extremely interested in inbound and outbound medical tourism,” he reports. “After starting the initiative about three or four years ago, we were finally able to open our clinic in Jakarta at the beginning of June.”