News

HIV Prevention Focusing on Communities

– Interview with Kota Iwahashi, President of akta
– Understanding how akta became a NPO success story

Patient empowerment and greater patient participation in managing one’s own health care have gained attention in recent years. One area where this trend has made particular progress is that of HIV and AIDS. As president of akta, Kota Iwahashi has been at the forefront of anti-HIV efforts in Japan. In a sequel to our last newsletter issue, COSMO wanted to learn more about how akta came about, the activities it’s involved in, and what lessons may be learned as an organization that continues to successfully drive progressive initiatives within a challenging environment. (Read the previous newsletter ‘HIV today: Latest Information and Changing Mindsets here).

岩下裕司HIV Prevention Focusing on Communities
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<HIV today> Latest Information and Changing Mindsets: Shifting to a community-based approach that puts people and the community at the center – Interview with Kota Iwahashi, President of akta –

More than a year has passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Among the many consequences being felt by us all, one issue that stands out is the impact on operations at public health centers, a body that tended to garner little attention in the past. The past year has underscored the important role public health centers play, but has also shone a light on the difficulties created when such centers are forced to focus exclusively on one disease, in this case COVID-19.

For this issue of the COSMO Newsletter, we wanted to understand how this situation is particularly affecting HIV transmission and treatment. We sat down with guest contributor Kota Iwahashi, President of akta, a non-profit organization that offers education and support to those affected by HIV and AIDS, to gain insights into the latest developments when it comes to HIV transmission in and outside of Japan.

The following guest contribution is compiled from an interview with Kota Iwahashi, President of akta, conducted exclusively for COSMO Newsletter readers.

岩下裕司<HIV today> Latest Information and Changing Mindsets: Shifting to a community-based approach that puts people and the community at the center – Interview with Kota Iwahashi, President of akta –
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COSMO publishes second Patient Insight Report, focusing on women’s cancer

– How patient empowerment affects gynecological and breast cancer patients
– The influence media and patient groups have over patients’ attitudes and behaviors toward treatment

COSMO’s Patient Insight Report series launched in July 2020. The second volume has now been published, this time focusing on women’s cancer.

The report offers quantitative and qualitative insights into how information affects the choices women’s cancer patients make.

It first analyzes attitudes and behaviors toward treatment selection, as observed among patients of the three main gynecological cancers – ovarian, cervical and endometrial, as well as breast cancer. Specifically, it examines how their physicians explain treatment options to them, how and what they research, and their willingness to participate in clinical trials and patient group activities, drawing data from a nationwide online survey conducted in March 2020 of 300 patients affected by ten primary cancer types.

Secondly, the report explores how patient empowerment affects women’s cancer patients and how media coverage and patient groups influence their attitudes and behaviors, based on separately conducted research into empowerment among patient groups and analysis of media coverage for women’s cancer.

岩下裕司COSMO publishes second Patient Insight Report, focusing on women’s cancer
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The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Viewpoint: Revise Japan’s Immigration Laws to Allow Hiring of Foreign Domestic Workers to Support Japanese Women’s Participation in the Workforce

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Viewpoint:
Revise Japan’s Immigration Laws to Allow Hiring of Foreign Domestic Workers to Support Japanese Women’s Participation in the Workforce

 

The ACCJ has issued three Viewpoints on this topic. The first two were issued in 2013 and 2015, with sponsorship from the ACCJ Growth Strategy Task Force. This most recent Viewpoint was issued in November 2020 and was sponsored by the ACCJ FDI and Global Economic Cooperation Committee and the Human Resource Management Committee.

Kumi Sato, President and CEO of Cosmo Public Relations Corporation, was the principal writer of this Viewpoint, which is one of her life’s work. Ms. Sato is dedicated to encouraging the Japanese government to ease immigration regulations that would allow foreign domestic workers to be sponsored by Japanese citizens, as is done in other Asian places such as Hong Kong and Singapore. The option to hire foreign domestic workers would help increase women’s participation in the workforce, contribute to the domestic economy, and aid Japan’s campaign to become an Asian Financial Center.

Direct link to the Viewpoint

Press Contact:
Cosmo Public Relations Corporation
Yoko Awata
email:yoko.awata@cosmopr.co.jp

岩下裕司The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Viewpoint: Revise Japan’s Immigration Laws to Allow Hiring of Foreign Domestic Workers to Support Japanese Women’s Participation in the Workforce
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Announcement of personnel changes

Glen Sunohara, current President and Representative Director of J-CAN KK, has joined COSMO as Board Director as of January 1, 2021.
Glen will advise COSMO on short and long-term business plans and also leverage his experiences as an expert in healthcare to counsel the company on service enhancement and internal capability development.

岩下裕司Announcement of personnel changes
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Optimism for 2021

 

Happy New Year!

Each new year brings opportunity to bookmark our lives – to reflect and contemplate on our hopes for the year ahead. After the turmoil of last year I’m sure that, like me, you are more curious than ever of what the world will be like in 2021.

As a communications consulting firm specializing in healthcare, all of us at COSMO have been at the center of COVID-19, striving to help many healthcare companies and organizations that are committed to maintaining the health and quality of life of people in the midst of the pandemic.

In a shining example of the power of healthcare innovation, the latter half of 2020 finally brought some “light” at the end of the tunnel. We feel fortunate to have overcome the most difficult year in COSMO’s 60-year history.

Yet we cannot reflect on 2020 without thinking of those who suffered and still suffer from COVID-19, remembering those who have lost family members, friends, jobs, and much that was important to them.

Learning from the last year, COSMO will continue to evolve, be relevant, and seek to lead in every way. We have established three goals for 2021 to ensure we become a partner that makes even more impactful contributions to our clients’ businesses:

◇Continue to publish our Healthcare Insight Report, expanded to cover more therapeutic areas
Developed using COSMO’s proprietary patient survey data, our “Patient Insight Report: Cancer” was well-received after its publication last year. We will continue to publish the report and replicate its survey insight model for tracking healthcare trends across a range of disease areas and research topics.

◇Launch of patient advocacy portal site
As one of COSMO’s core services, a portal site dedicated to patient advocacy will be launched this year to promote the specialization to a wider audience. Serving as a hub, it will showcase best practices from Japan and abroad, creating a multi-stakeholder environment for developing patient-centric initiatives.

◇Launch of corporate reputation management tools and services
Corporate reputation is a critical business asset, but a lack of consistent metrics to evaluate it makes it difficult to manage long-term and strategically. COSMO will launch corporate reputation management tools and services this year that work in the Japanese market, drawing on best practices from global partners.

I hope that the anxiety and restrictions we have grown accustomed to will pass soon so that we may once again meet in person. It is my sincere wish that 2021 will be a special year for each and every one of you.

Kumi Sato,
President and CEO
Cosmo Public Relations Corporation

岩下裕司Optimism for 2021
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Survey results: How should your company communicate with media during a pandemic?

Journalists in Japan embrace online interviews and want them to continue post-COVID-19, in combination with face-to-face PR to accelerate information sharing.

Drastic changes in the ways in which companies share information with the media in Japan have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While delivering information online has undoubtedly seen a rapid rise over the past 12 months, there are still some who argue that such channels leave a gap when it comes to giving media what they want.

COSMO decided to find out. We carried out a media survey of fifteen of our closest front-line reporters from the healthcare sector* on “How corporate PR should provide information to the media during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Conducted from 21 to 23 December, 2020, the results offer first-hand insights into which approaches media find the most suitable, and the topics reporters most want to hear more about.

Read on for a summary of key findings and insights that will help you successfully navigate your corporate PR in 2021 and beyond.

岩下裕司Survey results: How should your company communicate with media during a pandemic?
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Medinew and COSMO Joint Webinar: What Patients Expect of Pharmaceutical Companies Today; Insights on Appropriate Information Provision

On October 28, COSMO co-hosted a joint webinar with Medinew, a leading medical marketing magazine with a large readership among the pharmaceutical industry. Highlights from the session have now been made available online as a Medinew seminar report (Japanese language only).

Setting out to establish answers to the event’s topic of “What Patients Expect of Pharmaceutical Companies on Appropriate Information Provision Today,” Mr. Yoshiaki Kaneko, CEO of Medinew’s operating company, Pharma Information Network, Inc., opened the webinar with a presentation on “Communication with Patients for Pharmaceuticals Marketing.”

“Promotion efforts have until now focused on improving disease awareness and patient education to increase sales, but due to changes in pharmaceutical companies’ business models and the impact of COVID-19, it is likely that we will see a shift toward more patient-centered promotion in the future. Business areas will also be required to broaden their scope from a focus on product offerings to information service offerings,” said Mr. Kaneko.
Findings and recommendations from COSMO’s “Patient Insight Report”

The next speaker, Tomomi Nagasawa, Managing Director of Cosmo Public Relations Corporation, spoke on the topic of “Patient Awareness and Behavior during Treatment Selection and Prescription: Results of a Survey of 300 Cancer Patients.”

In March this year, COSMO conducted a nationwide online survey of 300 male and female patients across ten major types of cancer in order to gain insights into how cancer patients select treatment options, as well as measuring the behavioral differences among patients with different types of cancers. Patient awareness and perceptions of 19 major pharmaceutical companies were also measured to understand how corporate reputation affects the selection of prescription drugs. The results were compiled and released in July this year under the title of “Patient Insight Report: Cancer.”

Speaking on the decision to undertake such a survey, Ms. Nagasawa explained, “In recent years, treatment options for cancer have increased. [New practices, including] informed consent, in which patients receive explanations from physicians and then decide whether or not to consent; or shared decision-making, where physicians and patients share information on evidence and decide treatment options together, are becoming mainstream. Healthcare is transitioning from a service that patients passively receive from their physician, to one that patients themselves understand and choose.”

Ms. Nagasawa then introduced key findings from the survey. For example, unmet needs when it comes to information may be inferred from the fact that while 80% of patients research treatment options, 30% cannot understand the information and still end up relying on physicians’ explanations.

When selecting prescription medicine, patients are concerned about negative news on drug manufacturers; they research manufacturers of any prescribed medication and assess the company’s reputation. This reveals patients’ desire to proactively select better treatment and implies that the reputation of pharmaceutical companies does affect to some degree patients’ evaluation of treatment options and effectiveness or safety of therapies.

Importantly pharmaceutical companies potentially stand to bridge the gap between healthcare and patients. Supporting patients’ understanding of medical information can help them to positively consent to treatments or actively decide on treatments and thus affect their level of satisfaction toward treatments.

The presentation then concluded with specific recommendations to help pharmaceutical companies fulfill their role of providing information to patients, divided into:

1. Two practical ways pharmaceutical companies can provide easy-to-understand medical information to patients.

2. Three essential elements expected of pharmaceutical companies at all times when developing corporate reputation and communicating messaging.

 

■ Interested readers who were unable to join the webinar or are interested in reviewing the information introduced may access the full Medinew seminar report available online here, which includes a selection of slides and graphs used during the presentation.

■ Cosmo PR’s Patient Insight Report: Cancer is available for purchase in both Japanese and English language. “The report offers detailed survey results on corporate reputation according to cancer type. It can be used to understand patient perceptions of pharmaceutical companies, including awareness levels and corporate image as manufacturers and distributors of cancer therapies. The report also provides detailed analyses of cancer patients’ thoughts and behaviors that offer valuable reference material for pharmaceutical companies when planning and implementing promotional activities.” – Medinew Japan.
Click here for an overview of the survey and details on how to purchase the report.

We’d like to thank you for your continued interest in Cosmo PR and encourage all our readers to share these links with others who may also find value in them. It is our hope that the webinar discussion, cancer patient survey, and report benefit as many people as possible.

 

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COSMO announces Patient Insight Report at the 12th Japanese Association of Health Communication

The 12th annual conference of the Japanese Association of Health Communication was held online during September 26 – 27. Joining the “Communication with Patients and Families” segment, Cosmo PR offered a presentation on survey results from its Patient Insight Report, under a theme of “Search Behavior of Patients When Selecting Treatment Options and When Medication is Prescribed; Potential Effects of Corporate Reputation on Patients’ Selection Behavior.”

岩下裕司Medinew and COSMO Joint Webinar: What Patients Expect of Pharmaceutical Companies Today; Insights on Appropriate Information Provision
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The Acceleration of Digital Health in Japan Amid COVID-19

-The 1st COSMO Innovation Seminar-

COVID-19 is prompting an acceleration in digital transformation across all sectors. In the healthcare sector, there is growing anticipation for online medical care, app-based treatments, and “digital health”, or health management using digital devices. Regulation prohibiting physicians from providing online medical examinations to first-time patients was lifted in April this year. This was followed in July by the government announcing its Honebuto Plan, in which it stated that it would “develop a scheme to enable patients to receive the entire medical care process online, from medical examinations to receipt of pharmaceutical drugs, by offering electronic prescriptions, online medication guidance, and delivery of pharmaceutical drugs.” This trend of digitalization is only expected to accelerate further.

In recognition of this, COSMO Healthcare held the 1st COSMO Innovation Seminar on October 30 to further public understanding of digital health. Specialists knowledgeable of the current status and future of digital health in Japan and abroad were invited to join lectures, a speaker panel discussion, and participant Q&A session.

The following report includes an overview of the seminar with selected transcripts. (Please note that Japanese honorifics have been omitted for ease of reading).

岩下裕司The Acceleration of Digital Health in Japan Amid COVID-19
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What is the pathway to patient-centric ethical drug development?

Pathway to patient-centric drug development

Shift from patient engagement to public engagement

Healthcare in Japan is transitioning from care that patients passively receive, to one that they independently choose.
This trend is becoming increasingly important, not only in terms of patients’ conducting their own research and openly discussing information with healthcare professionals, but also within drug research and development. Why is collaboration between pharmaceutical researchers and patients or citizens, which was minimal in the past, needed more now? How can this be achieved?
To answer this question and more, we interviewed Dr. Imamura, who is taking on the challenge of creating a place where researchers and patients can learn together.

MatsubaraWhat is the pathway to patient-centric ethical drug development?
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