People in Access team (image)
People in Access team (image)

Our Brand Story: Access

Discover the stories hidden in our exploration and challenges - how we push the boundaries in access devices.
Discover the stories hidden in our exploration and challenges - how we push the boundaries in access devices.
Decades of Dedication: Access Devices in Terumo’s Interventional History

Terumo’s journey in interventional medicine began in 1985 with the launch of RADIFOCUS™ Guide Wire M. Now, over three decades later, our dedication to intervention, where access devices serve as a cornerstone, has not waned. Learn more from this conversation with our three integral members of Access team.

Tomomi Kitagawa (image)

Tomomi Kitagawa

Senior Product manager, Access, 
Global Marketing


Career began in R&D, engaged in drug-related work for DES.  Later moved into marketing, before working in a wide range of areas including angiographic catheters, closure devices, and AI imaging. Currently working with radial vascular closure devices. 

Kei Ozawa (image)

Kei Ozawa

Research Engineer, Ashitaka factory


After joining Terumo, gained experience as part of the life cycle management team for peripheral support catheters and guiding catheters. Currently involved in new product developments for sheaths and abdominal catheters.

Chihiro Mizuo (image)

Chihiro Mizuo

Research Engineer, Ashitaka factory


As part of the new product development team, participated in conceptual planning of guide wires designed for peripheral arteries, before transitioning to the team focused on angiographic catheters. Currently responsible for regulatory compliance, integral to ensuring our products remain on the market.

Access Devices: The Unseen Heros Behind Effective Treatment

- How would you describe access devices?


Tomomi Kitagawa (TK): At Terumo, we’ve been providing access devices for almost forty years now, and gradually our products have gained a reputation for quality and reliability among healthcare professionals around the globe. So when it comes to developing access products, it’s not so much about revolutionizing them, but more about preserving the features that healthcare professionals have come to trust, while also finding ways to incorporate improvements.  

Tomomi Kitagawa (image)

Kei Ozawa (KO): Exactly. Access devices are the unsung heroes of interventional treatment, quietly holding down the fort behind the scenes. They may not capture the spotlight, but their foundational role in medical treatment is undeniable.

Chihiro Mizuo (CM): Looking back on advancements in the 1990s and early 2000s, you get a real sense of the historical evolution and legacy of our access devices. Our broad product lineup is a testament to our constant adaptability, showing how we have continued to keep pace with and adapt to the changing needs of doctors.

Facing the Challenges of Legacy Products

- What challenges are typical when dealing with products that have such a rich history?


CM: Keeping our product portfolio up and running across the years means complying with changing regulations. And while it can be painstaking at times, adapting to shifts in regulatory demands is part of our duty and responsibility as a manufacturer.

Take data collection, for example. When regulations change, sometimes previous methods are made non-compliant, or new criteria gets introduced to the mix. Coupled with the individual regulations of every country, with their different requirements for each package, ensuring global compliance becomes its own daily adventure. 

But despite this ever-changing environment, our dedication stands firm. After all, the more stringent the regulations, the better the quality, and meeting those standards means we’re delivering the best possible product to our customer.

TK: One of the issues with long-selling products is that their inherent benefits and features can fade into the background. Getting these benefits across to customers can be its own challenge. For example, our universal shape catheter can lead to reduced procedural time1, less radiation exposure2, and lower costs3. Making sure these benefits are communicated effectively is another way for us to contribute to clinical settings.

- What kind of challenges come into play when developing a new product?

KO: Well, modifying a product that is already trusted by healthcare professionals is a fine art. We need to consider functionality. It’s not just about enhancements, it’s about making sure we can still deliver on features our customers already value.

As costs of treatment increase, our products need to adapt. I also see the demand for sustainable products developing in the future, and a need to consider more environmentally-friendly methods and materials. Ultimately, my objective is to work within these confines to develop something that provides even more value.

What do you prioritize in your work?

Chihiro Mizuo (image)
CM:  Stepping out of the office is key for me. When you’re in R&D, you might be physically distant from the real-world applications of the product, and it can sometimes be difficult to fully understand how the product is being applied. That’s why making the effort to get out there and see the product in action is crucial. It also ensures that any modifications or development changes are not based on a personal agenda, but are addressing the real needs of the market.

And it’s not just about observing clinical settings—visiting the production line is just as important. Most issues aren’t going to be resolved from behind a desk. Associates involved in production have a unique understanding and perspective that’s distinct from mine, and engaging with them always provides a fresh viewpoint. It means problems can be tackled more swiftly, and we can be more proactive in finding a solution. The associates working in production don’t mince words—they tell it like it is and that’s exactly what’s needed!

Kei Ozawa (image)
KO: For me, I want to fully understand and be on board with whatever I’m working on, and I like to go deep with my research and considerations. I recall one incident at the factory that needed investigation. As a result, we were unable to dispatch some products. It was a stark reminder of how important our role is. If our products cannot be shipped, it not only affects our sales team, but impacts healthcare professionals and patients. This incident really underscored the critical nature of ensuring my work was done to the highest standard and no corners cut.

Tomomi Kitagawa (image)
TK: Respect is key, I think. This is partly influenced by my time working in Europe with the R&D team, where navigating through varied cultural expectations taught me a lot about embracing individuality.

I remember this one time, a co-worker had made a mistake and I was on hand to help troubleshoot. It was a Friday and even though the workday was technically over, I was still working on the issue.  So, I was surprised when my co-worker clocked out as soon as the standard workday ended. Where I thought that wrapping it up as early as possible was the right approach, he was content to shelve it until next week.

In another instance, a co-worker mentioned that my Japanese manager sent mixed signals, and it was impossible to know what he was thinking. At first, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Later, however, I realized that my co-worker was used to a workplace culture characterized by open and candid sharing of opinions. In contrast, my manager communicated in a way more typical to Japan, one where his intentions were cushioned. I could see how this could be confusing for my co-worker, and it was a reminder that I could be more honest and frank when sharing my own doubts and opinions.

These experiences have shaped my understanding, teaching me to recognize and accept the different mindsets among individuals. I believe that embracing diversity is a step toward genuine mutual respect. When I feel respected and valued, I’m more inclined to engage and collaborate. And that, in my view, is vital for working effectively together.  

Personalities of Terumo Interventional Systems

- Which of the three personalities, Imaginative Ideas, Attention to Details, Never Give Up, resonates with you as an individual?

Imaginative Ideas

TK: Attention to detail and a never-give-up attitude are already innate to my personality, but Imaginative Ideas is an area where I need to be more intentional. Finding ways to harness and cultivate my imagination will be a focus for me going forward.
Tomomi Kitagawa (image)

Attention to Details

CO: I’d have to say Attention to Details. Always questioning, staying curious, and digging deep into investigations—attention to detail is not just who I am, but also crucial to our work in development.
Kei Ozawa (image)

Never Give Up, Imaginative Ideas

CM: In R&D, a never-give-up attitude isn’t a nice to have, it’s a must. We’re all making sure we achieve the best possible solution, and there’s no room for giving up until we do. When it comes to Imaginative Ideas, like Tomomi, I need to work on this skill more. We have to work within certain limitations, and we need to get creative to navigate through them. Working on imaginative ideas isn’t just good for my own development capabilities, it’s good for the team as a whole.
Chihiro Mizuo (image)

*Information accurate as of October 2023.



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