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Founded in Japan during the summer of 1951, Nihon Kohden was initially created with the goal of using engineering technology to revolutionize medical work. Four months after its founding, the company created the world's first eight channel, direct writing, AC-powered electroencephalograph (EEG) machine, and established an immediate tradition of innovation that continues today.
Nihon Kohden has produced a number of other new technologies through the years. Early creations included EEGs as well as kimographs, machines that record variations in muscle tension or blood pressure using a revolving paper drum system. Also notable were Japan's first electromagnetic blood flowmeters, various oscilloscopes and air respiration monitors, all developed prior to 1960. By consistently developing completely new machines, in addition to maintaining partnerships with already existing award-winning medical device companies, Nihon Kohden established itself as a worldwide force very early on.
Nihon Kohden created its first international subsidiary in 1979, branching out to the United States. Later that year, it developed instruments for use in experiments on board NASA shuttles. European Representative Offices in Amsterdam, Germany and Europe soon followed along with the world's first completely automatic EEG in 1980. Relatively early forays into the field of digital technology allowed the firm to increase its share in global markets as well as to push medical data acquisition and record keeping into the modern era.
Nihon Kohden has continued to make advances. Its participation in 1997's experiment in remote medicine made it the first company to truly explore this area, and its modern systems are easily integrated with PC-based software. Its successes have not only been a result of its adherence to high engineering standards, however. It is known for its attention to patient comfort as much as the promotion of easy human-to-machine interfacing.
Many of the systems Nihon Kohden has developed introduce new wireless standards and non-invasive monitoring. These allow patients to retain more freedom of motion and ease the testing procedures. The quick response times and minimal patient stresses their machines incur make them popular with health care providers everywhere.
The company is ISO 14001 certified for Environmental Management, focusing on a low-pollution approach to manufacturing. This includes both the exclusion of toxic materials and massive recycling efforts. Accurate life cycle assessment programs are one of the main tenets of Nihon Kohden's environmentally-friendly processes.
Although Nihon Kohden has branched out to include many forms of engineering innovation in its repertoire, it still focuses on providing clinical devices, including bedside monitors, defibrillators and EEGs. The products conform to IEC601-1 (Medical Electrical Equipment: General Requirements for Safety) and are manufactured in ISO-9001, EN 46001 certified facilities. Quality control is achieved through a rigid internal program on a comprehensive basis throughout the entire company, helping Nihon Kohden meet US Food and Drug Administration Good Manufacturing Practice codes and Canadian Standards Association labeling requirements. While its four factories are located in Japan, the firm maintains additional corporate headquarters in Europe and North America.