Q. Please tell us what led you to introduce Comuoon.
I had always thought that there were very few pharmacies in Japan that are concerned about sound, light or scent. Due to the nature of handling drugs, even though we are concerned about temperature and humidity, no one pays attention to the management of other environmental factors. In terms of "sound", every pharmacy has a dispensary and a waiting room in a narrow space of about 50 ㎡with packaging machines, refrigerated display cases containing drinks, PCs, cash registers and the like, placed here and there. The compound noise generated from those items of equipment definitely causes significant stress to the human body on an unconscious level, even though it cannot actually be heard. Many of the people who come to a pharmacy are patients with decreased physical and mental capabilities. I had been thinking that it was important to create a comfortable environment, including sound, light, and scent as well as temperature and humidity, in order to facilitate pleasant communication between the staff and such people.
Then, a friend introduced Mr. Nakaishi to me and I learned more about him. Although, in the past, Comuoon was introduced as a system that supports hearing for persons with impairments, I instinctively perceived it as "Sound Field Application (Technology that creates high-precision sound)" which realizes a hearing environment that is comfortable not only for those with hearing difficulties but for everyone. Therefore, I immediately introduced Comuoon on a trial basis to Atom Pharmacy, where I am in charge of operations management.
Q. What was the reaction after its actual introduction?
Immediately, an elderly customer who was always having hearing difficulty expressed surprise, saying, "Why is it so easy to make conversation here? I can hear your voice clearly." Many customers had similar reactions. As their conversations became smooth, we would see more and more people intensely listening to the staff give advice, not only on medicines but also on health in general, or chat with them. The regaining of the joy of conversation, which they had previously given up on saying, "I can't hear, anyway.", instantly showed on their faces.
Then, after consulting with Mr. Nakaishi, we installed two SONORITY speakers on the ceiling of the newly renovated Kedanano Pharmacy in addition to Comuoon. This speaker creates a universal sound environment that makes it easy for everyone to hear. Because it improves the clarity of sound to the ultimate level and can create a clear sound with low distortion, it can be utilized as a professional audio speaker, as well as a hearing support. This is how the sound management for a comfortable communication space that I had been thinking about was made possible. The attractive speaker with the amber-colored wood wrapped around the main body to match the interior is the pride of Kedanano Pharmacy.
Q. Is Comuoon sufficiently helpful?
I view a pharmacy as a "place that provides medicines ethically." In order to provide medicines in a physically and ethically correct manner, we always record via an automatic camera, medicines being provided to customers with a view to creating a system whereby misunderstanding of information does not occur among doctors, customers, and pharmacy. In addition, we make efforts to improve the knowledge of our staff and operational support by thoroughly managing our inventory on a daily basis, so that we can communicate with customers with ease.
Comuoon plays an important role in hearing, which increases the likelihood of conveying information correctly to customers. Given that home health care and home nursing care will continue to become more common, Comuoon will steadily evolve as a more wearable (a computer that can be worn and carried around) support tool.
Q. Please give a message to people who are considering introduction of Comuoon.
In the future, it will be required to create various spaces based on "universal ideas" of individual comfort, regardless of whether or not one has hearing difficulty.
Kedanano Pharmacy is a pharmacy with an image that is very different from those of regular pharmacies furnished with white shelves and a white counter. Numerous sundries, as if a toy box had been knocked over, regional goodies that are lined up as if it were a direct-from-the-farm store, the scent of freshly ground coffee... such a space with a relaxed atmosphere has been created based on the development of infrastructure that pursues comfort of the five senses, painstaking management of medicines and customer information, and flexible communication provided by the staff. I think pursuing comfort by making steady business efforts as a professional without showing them to the customers in order to increase loyalty is a common concept among all types and conditions of business.
Comuoon is a first step in creating a "universal" space in which everyone can spend time in an agreeable atmosphere. I hope everyone will experience the rich communication that can be created through that environment.