Medical tourism initiatives in South Korea

The local government of Seoul district Gangnam aims to promote the district to medical tourists. Shin Yeon-hee has been orchestrating strategies to make Gangnam a more internationally friendly district since last July. She explains that Gangnam is a representative district of not only Seoul but also Korea as a whole, “Unlike other spontaneously developed cities, Gangnam is a planned area. As Korea becomes globalized, Gangnam is also growing into a truly international district. Gangnam aims to attract at least 30,000 medical tourists by 2012. Medical tourism also benefits hotels, transportation and the restaurant business, creating more economic effects than just sightseers. There are many hospitals and clinics in Gangnam, renowned for cosmetic surgery and dermatology.”

As Korea develops medical tourism, Yonsei Severance Hospital in Shinchon, northern Seoul is taking measures to ensure patient care is foreigner friendly. The international healthcare centre has coordinators for Russian, Chinese and English speakers.Yonsei Severance employs 13 bilingual interns to help manage the increasing inflow of foreign patients. A new international hospital in Incheon, set to open in 2015, will have features designed to accommodate international patients such as special beds to accommodate tall patients.

Patients Beyond Borders will soon release a 32-page full colour standalone focus brochure on Asan Medical Center (AMC), profiling South Korea’s largest nonprofit hospital. It will feature the hospital’s world-class facilities, highlight its pioneering developments in areas such as organ transplantation and coronary artery intervention, and showcase centres of excellence. Established in June 1989 by Hyundai Motor Company founder Chung Ju-Yung, AMC’s mission was to create a hospital with an emphasis on caring for life and sharing with those in need and pain. Today, the main facility-one of the largest hospital campuses in the world-encompasses more than 4 million square feet and houses over 2700 beds. AMC also has longstanding partnerships with the University of Ulsan College of Medicine (Seoul), Partners Harvard Medical International (Boston), Imperial College London, and various hospitals across Asia. Josef Woodman of Healthy Travel Media comments,” Korea has some of the best healthcare and medical infrastructure in the world, and Asan Medical Center has clearly secured its place as one of the country’s leading providers. Revered for its high success rates with organ transplantation and treatment of cancer and vascular disease, Asan is also well known for disease prevention. And the savings are substantial-averaging 20% to 60% less than US costs.”

Offering patient-centred care and international partnerships for post-operative care, coupled with full-time English-speaking specialists, patient escorts and translation services, and other international patient services, the centre currently attracts more than 3300 global patients a year.

Source : Treatment Abroad

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