Multilingual medical services offered in Okinawa
Nanbu Tokushukai Hospital became the first hospital in Okinawa to acquire the Japan Medical Service Accreditation for International Patients (JMIP) certification in August his year.
Hospitals with JMIP certification offer patients, who don’t speak Japanese, medical services in multiple languages. The system was created in anticipation of increasing medical tourism and expected international visitors to the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. The Nanbu Tokushukai Hospital is the 16th hospital nationwide to have the certification.
M.D. Mitsuru Akazaki, a director at the hospital, said that they have built a system to offer the best medical care to anyone, anytime, and anywhere, and the hospital will be able to respond to any need from international patients.
The certification system was established in 2012 as a part of a project by the Ministry of Health to accept foreign patients with the Japan Medical Education Foundation in charge of its operation. The foundation judges and certifies the interpreters and service for patients who come from different cultural and religions backgrounds, as well as the availability of the multilingual services.
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited Nanbu Tokushukai Hospital last year. JCI certifies hospitals that offer medical services of international standards, and since then, according to Nanbu Tokushukai officials, the hospital has received several inquiries from overseas. The hospital now has its own International Medical Support Office to handle the inquiries.
The hospital has three interpreters, two medical interpreters for English and Chinese, and a general interpreter for Korean. It has prepared multilingual medical certificates and notices, and was selected the base hospital for accepting foreign patients, which is a subsidized project of the Ministry of Health.
According to the Nanbu Tokushukai Hospital, they had about 100 foreign patients last year. Most of them were Chinese tourists and U.S. servicepersons.