Providing an irradiation system that large numbers of patients can rely on by implementing AeroDR fully in sites responsible for leading-edge treatment
Gunma University Hospital is the only advanced treatment facility in Gunma Prefecture and is the largest such facility in the northern Kanto region. The Gunma Heavy-ion Medical Center began cancer treatment in March 2010 and is widely hailed both in Japan and internationally as the world's leading center for advanced research and treatment. In May 2011, an AeroDR system was installed in the heavy-ion irradiation facility that is the nucleus of the advanced treatments offered at the Center. This AeroDR system features excellent portability and durability,
making treatment far easier on patients and helping to provide improved efficiency and safety. The system is particularly effective as a substitute for CR systems in everyday irradiation.
Gunma University Hospital
Location: 3-39-15 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, Japan 371-8511
Ph.: 027-220-7111 (switchboard)
Capacity: 725 beds
Departments: Neurology, Hematology, Pediatrics, Pediatric Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Respiratory Surgery, Gastroenterological Surgery, Radiology, Heavy-ion Medical Center, ENT, Dermatology, Urology, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cardiovascular Surgery, Cardiovascular Internal Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Allergy Medicine, Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, Nephrology & Rheumatology, Breast & Endocrine Surgery, Transplant Surgery, Dental & Oral Surgery, Psychiatry & Neurology, Anesthesiology & Resuscitation, Nuclear Medicine (total 28 departments)
A highly motivated organization whose enthusiasm stems from its role as a university hospital
Whether as a core facility for regional medical treatment or as research facility under taking innovative research and development, university hospitals play a vital role. Since taking up his position as Chief Technician in the Radiology Department in 2006, Hidenori Otake has devoted himself to the task of revitalizing his working environment. "There's no doubt that Radiology is one of the most important sections of the organization in terms of progressing advanced medical treatments. Particularly given that this hospital also hosts the Heavyion Medical Center, it's important for the whole country, not just as a regional medical treatment facility." "On the one hand, any radiologist working in this sort of treatment environment is under immense pressure to achieve extremely high quality outcomes, but this is balanced by the unmatched opportunity it offers to be involved in cutting-edge research. So rather than being a burden, I think this environment offers real challenges that keep everyone in the Radiology Department highly motivated and require us to work hard to lift our game."Otake is also conscious of the importance of the hospital as one of the major players in regional medical treatment. "It's often said that this is the last bastion in the northern Kanto region. In the event of a major disaster, we will accept and treat patients from surrounding hospitals and clinics and supply medical information to people in the region from an epidemiological perspective. But I think it's important for everyone to understand that the role of a university hospital is not simply to treat illness. "After the huge Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, one of the catch-cries taken up for this hospital was 'Let's build an earthquakeproof hospital'. Maebashi, where the hospital stands, has always been known as an area with solid bedrock that is not prone to flooding. If we increase the building strength and stability, put in place systems for dealing with power supply issues and ensure that our trained staff take the appropriate measures, I don't think there would be a safer facility to be in anywhere in the surrounding area."
Learning from our experiences with earthquakes to become medical professionals who understand other people's pain
Otake has worked for many years in the field of nuclear medicine and, at the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), assisted with on-site examinations when the accident at the Fukushima No.1 reactor occurred. "I was asked to monitor the radioactive isotopes emitted by this nuclear accident and to measure radiation doses. Because they expected there to be high levels of radioactive dosage among the suspended dust particles immediately after the accident, they avoided calling up younger people below the age of 40, and I was assigned to the task. "We began by measuring radiation doses primarily among people in the evacuation sites, but more recently the monitoring mostly targets people who have temporarily returned home. Now that several months have passed since the accident, we are hardly detecting any suspended radioactive isotopes any longer, so in the future we are thinking of taking along some younger medical workers so that they can gain the experience." The examinations are conducted in temporary measurement facilities such as gymnasiums and the days are long and hard, but Otake believes that gaining the experience is more important than anything else. "Being a radiologist is more like being a 'medical tradesperson', so experience is what's really important, not theory. A major earthquake on this scale is something that only comes along once in several hundred years, and the experience we can gain from a disaster like this should not be wasted. We have to use it to gain new knowledge that will help drive future research. "I think that experiencing the suffering and grief felt by those affected by the disaster helps to make you a better medical care provider and gives you a new perspective. So I am hoping that the younger medical professionals will build up a broader range of
experience through this."
A change in thinking triggered by incorporation, leading to continued steady growth in the Radiology Department
In 2004, the national university incorporated, requiring a greater level of autonomy at the university and triggering a renewed awareness among everyone involved "Since incorporation, I think it's been important to be more aware of the numbers.I told all the technicians in the Radiology Department that they each need to keep their own account of how profitable their scans are. Of course, at first they didn't understand how to calculate insurance points and so the numbers tended not to increase, but after two years or so we're getting progress comparisons such as 'this month's numbers are better than last month's' and 'this month was a little lower'. "When you can view your work in terms of numbers and have set targets, the way you deal with patients obviously tends to change also. In the past, patients were simply told 'I can't help you because all the appointments are taken for today.' But it became natural for the response to be something like 'I have some time free tomorrow, if that's OK' or 'The afternoon of ---day looks pretty good.'" Otake concludes that the absorption of an appreciation of the numbers into each person's sense of professionalism is a major benefit of the change. "No matter how many sound management policies are imposed from above, they are meaningless if they are not actually translated into action in the workplace. I think it is only participation at an individual level that will lead to genuine results. In the Radiology Department, there has been a genuine change in thinking and this has led to an increase in revenue of several percent every year."