We have had an amazing opportunity to visit South Korea and learn about South Korea’s health care system as a part of the SACU co-operation project in patient safety and health care quality between Metropolia UAS and Daegu Kyungpook National University.
During our four-week student exchange we have had the privilege to visit several health care facilities in Daegu and Pohang. South Korea has over 50 million inhabitants, from which 6.8 million are elderly. As a rapidly aging society South Korea is facing similar challenges with demographic change as Finland is facing currently.
In Daegu we had a great opportunity to visit two geriatric long-term hospitals, DaeHyun Chumdan Geriatric Hospital and Daegu Metropolitan City Seobu Geriatric Hospital, and one nursing home Dr.KIM Happy Silver Family Center.
These facilities focus on patient safety in multiple ways, for instance, by improving hand hygiene and fall prevention. Patient safety and care quality issues are taken very seriously, and practices are constantly developed.
In Pohang we had an interesting visit to a new private rehabilitation hospital for the elderly and cancer patients, Goryo Daeryeon Medical Care Center. The facilities were very modern, and they were designed with a patient-centred approach. The care center has advanced facilities for rehabilitation and it offers many different treatments for cancer patients. They also provide traditional medication services.
In South Korea, the National Health Insurance (NHI) coverage is 80% of inpatient care, and patients usually pay 20% themselves. Most health care services are included in NHI and it covers the entire population. The voluntary health care accreditation program aims to improve the quality of care and assure patient safety in hospitals.
It has been a very eye-opening experience to widen our knowledge about different solutions to improve patient safety and conduct elderly care. As Metropolia UAS Master’s students, we are grateful for this chance to explore health care in South Korea, as well as traditions, culture and local food. We have been treated with great hospitality and we want to express our gratitude for funding and enabling this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
WHO, Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies 2015. Republic of Korea health system review. <https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/208215>
Lee, Kuy Sik – Shin, Min Kuyng 2012. Goals and assignments of healthcare accreditation program in Korea. Journal of Korean Medial Association 55 (1). 7-16.
The exchange was financed by Finnish Ministry of Education EDUFI Asia program.
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