Technology of Japanese start-up featured by doctors (Series ＃30）
The First Part: NTT PARAVITA, Supporting a Colorful Life in Your Way
Using ICT to Solve Sleep Issues
Do you have any sleep issues? We realize that many people are experiencing sleep issues, such as being too busy to get a good night's sleep or having trouble falling asleep due to various worries.
In some cases, people complain of sleep disorders as an aftereffect of COVID-19. Although we are returning to normalcy since the COVID-19 pandemic has calmed down considerably, the aftereffects can persist for at least two months and can be long-term. 1)
I am interested in Sleep Tech to manage my sleep, as I have practice in sleep apnea syndrome, one of the most common sleep disorders. I wear the Oura Ring and Apple Watch to monitor and manage my sleep to improve the quality of my sleep. Recently, A roundtable discussion article on Sleep Tech was also posted on the LSMIP website, and I have noticed that Sleep Tech has become a hot topic in recent years. In addition, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) has presented the “Sleep Guidelines for Health Promotion 2014” with 12 articles on sleep2) and advocates the importance of sleep.
Amidst this focus on the importance of sleep, NTT PARAVITA CORPORATION (hereafter “NTT PARAVITA”) is tackling sleep issues using ICT. In this issue, I will focus on the services offered by the company.
NTT PARAVITA provides healthcare services that support health promotion by using ICT to deliver data that contributes to the detection of unwellness to energize local communities. The company was founded in July 2021 as a joint venture between NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE WEST CORPORATION (hereafter “NTT WEST”) and Paramount Bed Co., Ltd (hereafter “Paramount Bed”), which has long been working to solve social issues faced by local communities by utilizing ICT. NTT WEST has long been working to solve the social problems faced by local communities through the use of ICT. It has succeeded in collecting and analyzing vital data of the elderly using IoT devices to visualize sleep. On the other hand, Paramount Bed boasts the top share of the Japanese market for medical and nursing care beds and mat-type sleep sensors and has been supplying sleep sensors to medical and nursing care providers. By combining the technologies of these two companies, NTT PARAVITA is developing healthcare services centered on “sleep.”
The “Active Sleep ANALYZER” sheet-type sleep sensor manufactured by Paramount Bed, provided by the NTT PARAVITA service, is placed under bedding, and can determine whether a patient is asleep or has left the bed based on body movements detected by the sensor. In hospitals and nursing care facilities, it is common to see sensor mats placed beside beds to prevent wandering and falls, but early detection can be expected by placing the mats under the bed. The system also measures not only body movements but also determines sleep and wakefulness, as well as heart and respiratory rate.
Until now, sensors that are integrated with bedding have been developed and sold, but the cost of integrating them with bedding has made them expensive, and their use has been limited. However, this sheet-type product could be used by a wide range of people, from children to the elderly, and I expect to expand the range of applications. Although it does not look like a sleep tech at first glance, it will likely be of great use in solving various sleep issues and acquiring data.
NTT PARAVITA is developing the following three businesses.
1) “Nemuri no Mimamori” service for local governments
Sleep sensors are distributed to residents to collect sleep data. By objectively understanding their sleep patterns based on the collected data, the service provides sleep improvement guidance tailored to individual needs.
2) “Nemuri no madoguchi” service for dispensing pharmacy
NTT PARAVITA deposits sleep sensors at the dispensing pharmacy where introduce this service. Patients who come to the pharmacy lend a sleep sensor, and the pharmacy provides advice to the patient based on the sleep report “Onemuri Techo.” Patients are given a grasp of their sleep situation and are supported in improving their sleep. This service has the potential to attract the active participation of dispensing pharmacies in terms of differentiation amid the current flurry of pharmacy groups.
3) Health and Productivity Management support service “Nemuri no Gym”, “Nemuri no Are Kore” and “Nemuri no Ouendan”
“Nemuri no Gym” is a model implementation program focusing on sleep, which uses a sleep sensor in a dedicated application to improve “the abdominal circumference by -2 cm and weight by -2 kg in 3 months,” which are the standards for implementation of a specific health guidance model. Interestingly, since the program is offered on a pay-for-performance basis, companies and insurance associations can implement the specific health guidance at a cost corresponding only to the number of people who achieve the goal.
In “Nemuri no Are Kore,” sleep sensors are distributed to employees of companies and organizations that have introduced the system, and sleep data is measured. Based on the acquired data, a personal sleep trainer will provide specific advice and support to improve sleep.
Employees participating in the program will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance and undergo a 14-day period of current conditions measurement, followed by a seminar to foster knowledge on how to get a good night’s sleep. For the next 10 weeks, a sleep improvement instructor or other specialist affiliated with NTT PARAVITA will accompany them as a personal sleep trainer. In addition to providing regular sleep reports, the participants can receive specific advice from the experts.
Source: NTT PARAVITA
NTT PARAVITA also released an even newer service, “Nemuri no Ouendan” on March 17, 2023, World Sleep Day. 3) This new service is for employees of companies engaged in Health and Productivity Management. For 480 Japanese yen per person per month (528 Japanese yen including tax), employees can attend seminars on sleep and receive sleep consultations with a personal sleep trainer via LINE, Zoom, or telephone as many times as they wish. The company believes that the inability to get a good night’s sleep daily is a state of unwellness, and the desire to improve this state led them to offer this new service.
I interviewed NTT PARAVITA because I was curious about the uniqueness of the company, which offers various services, and its future business development. In the second part of this article, I will introduce an interview with Mr. Wataru Mizukami who is engaged in business support for NTT PARAVITA at Paramount Bed.
(To be continued to the next issue)
- NTT PARAVITA Website https://www.nttparavita.com/
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