Care Informatics Consortium

* This laboratory has been completed.

Fukuda Laboratory, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University
Tel:+81-466-49-3525, Ex. 53024


Japan’s nursing industry has more users than care providers can afford, a situation that highlights the difficulty in maintaining the level of nursing quality. This trend is expected to continue as birth rates continue to drop while society ages further. Accordingly, the Care Informatics Consortium aims to research effective IT applications to help reverse the situation.

Thus far, IT applications in the nursing industry have been electronic conversions of paper medium such as various forms, programs designed to authorize nursing care needs, calculate remuneration for nursing care providers, and develop care plans. In the case of paper forms that serve as an integral part of daily nursing activities, some applications merely provide an electronic interface to paper-based forms. This type of IT application does not necessarily afford efficiencies to nursing activities, requiring, instead, time and effort for users to become accustomed to their use. IT applications that provide services such as remote nursing are being developed, but more time is required until these applications reach a practical level.

In order to use IT more effectively in the nursing sector, this consortium will extract and pass down the knowledge of veteran nursing care providers. In most cases, nursing is a personal service fulfilled through face-to-face interaction. Care providers must demonstrate competency in observing the user’s condition to determine the type of nursing called for, in order to provide a high level of satisfaction to the user. This requires sufficient training and education. In “model” nursing facilities that actually demonstrate this level of dedication, not only do users receive a high level of satisfaction, providers are able to extract a high level of motivation. Unfortunately, not all nursing facilities can expend that type of cost on training. A method that provides even the smallest amount of improvement in user-satisfaction at the least possible cost is in demand. By extracting the knowledge applied in nursing work by using IT in a data mining application of the visual perceptive and behavioral patterns of veteran nursing care providers, we can develop a system that can be used to transfer this knowledge to less-experienced care workers, and assist in determining user conditions.

Our consortium aims to benefit the nursing industry by building a nursing model in a 3-year program that will reflect the knowledge of veteran care workers and achieve a higher level of nursing quality at minimal cost.

Overview of Research Activity Plan

<< 1st year >>

The Kohoen social welfare corporation will be set as the model nursing facility for its advanced service and high level of user and worker satisfaction, where the consortium will:

  • extract on-site initiatives (the skills of veteran workers) that improve service quality
  • identify problems from the data of veteran workers, and visualize improvement processes
  • package the IT-based support model

This package will be applied to a single unit within Kohoen to verify changes in nursing care content and the perceptions of care workers and users.

<< 2nd year >>

Based on the results of the first year, experiments will be conducted to verify similar changes in other units at the other locations of Kohoen. To validate the benefits of the package, the second year will devote more time on validation, at least six months, than the first year. This will allow us to verify if changes in personnel and location cause changes in the nursing care content that is passed on from veteran workers. We will also develop a model of the process common among different units, from the extraction of on-site initiatives that improve quality to the packaging of an IT support system.

<< 3rd year >>

In the third year, we will verify if the same IT-based nursing support system can be applied to other nursing care providers. If we can determine that a system that can spread the knowledge developed at a model nursing facility like the Kohoen is effective in raising the level of care at facilities unable to provide the same level of training and education as model facilities, we can benefit a larger number of nursing facilities. The ultimate goal of this consortium is to develop a dissemination model and formulate detailed guidelines aimed at improving the nursing industry.

Researchers, managers and professors

Kenji KumasakaDirector Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies
Consortium Representative, Considerations from a sociological viewpoint
Tomoyuki Furutani Associate Professor, Faculty of Policy Management
Statistical analysis
Takashi Iba Associate Professor, Faculty of Policy Management
Modeling, simulation
Ryoko Fukuda Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
Deputy representative of the Consortium and Secretariat.
Behavioral and line of sight analysis of care providers and users
Hitoshi Matsubara Project Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance
Data mining
Ken Hiroe President, Kohoen Social Welfare Corporation
Sadayoshi Mikami Professor, Future University Hakodate