Every year, L.E.K. surveys several hundred decision-makers at hospitals in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to understand how key strategic priorities and purchasing behaviors are shifting. The aim of our survey is to help healthcare companies make informed decisions about engaging stakeholders and tailoring their product and service value propositions.

Here are this year’s key findings for Japan.

Financial outlook

Both public and private hospitals have largely recovered financially from the impact of COVID-19. Respondents reported an increase in elective volumes in 2023 and expect further growth for 2024. The budgetary outlook is also expected to improve significantly, with hospitals projecting their expenditure on capital equipment to increase in the next three years.

Business priorities

Public hospitals are focused on improving clinical outcomes and reducing cost. For their part, private hospitals are focused on emergency preparedness, healthcare worker safety and work efficiency.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) projects the overall number of hospital beds will continue their decline. But hospitals are looking to increase their investment (and capacity) in endocrinology, cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery. They’re also looking to standardize their purchases of consumables, clinical support appliances and diagnostic imaging equipment.


In both public and private hospitals, clinical department heads play a leading role in purchase decisions. Other influential stakeholders include management in public hospitals and the procurement division in private institutions.

Top purchasing criteria depends on the type of hospital. Public hospitals focus on improving the quality of care and patient satisfaction. At private hospitals, the emphasis is on maximizing resources and increasing process efficiency.

A growing number of hospitals expect restrictions on sales representatives’ access to become more significant going forward. That said, digital engagement is broadly accepted among public and private hospitals alike.

Most hospitals in Japan contract with at least one group purchasing organization, or GPO. (Private institutions are more likely to have contracts with multiple GPOs.) The most common features of hospital GPO contracts are a preferred supplier list and aggregation of purchases with other members to reach significant discounts.


A 2019 MHLW study found that hospitals’ overall adoption of digital health solutions was stubbornly low. Last year, the MHLW revised the medical fee system to encourage adoption of certain artificial intelligence applications, from genomic medicine to surgery support.

Our survey shows that public hospitals do see the benefit of digitalization, especially for delivering quality care. Private institutions also see benefits from potential business development opportunities (e.g., expanding catchment areas). In general, private hospitals adopt more digital solutions than do public hospitals.

When it comes to digital solutions for patient information, public hospitals are more focused on health records. Private hospitals favor tools to push information to patients. Patient privacy and administrative burden are the chief concerns limiting digital health adoption at hospitals.

To learn more about the priorities of hospitals in Japan for 2023, please be sure to download our analysis.

L.E.K. Consulting is a registered trademark of L.E.K. Consulting LLC. All other products and brands mentioned in this document are properties of their respective owners. © 2023 L.E.K. Consulting LLC

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