Korean medical services, which have been stagnating for some time, are poised for rebirth amid rapid changes related to the recent economic downturn and the launch of a system to separate the professional roles of doctors and pharmacists last year.
In line with efforts to adjust to the changes, general hospitals are trying to improve medical services by reeducating their staff members and strengthening training of hospital employees.
Private hospitals that were run by a single individual have been transformed into medical institutions run by groups of doctors with specialized skills through the introduction of various advanced medical technologies and equipment. The trend has helped strengthen their competitiveness.
With Korea beginning a new paradigm after the Asian economic crisis, the importance of boosting competitiveness through the introduction of new ideas has been emphasized in most areas of society.
However, many general hospitals maintain inflexible decision-making processes. Moreover, financial investments for new medical innovations and equipment have decreased due to financial difficulties arising from the crisis. Therefore, it has been difficult to expect the highest-quality medical services at general hospitals.
Under the circumstances, well-qualified medical specialists tend to open private clinics in their search for a better medical environment and higher quality medical services.
With this mind, three alumna of Seoul Medical College established Dream Dermatology Clinic. One of the three participated in a project to develop a medical laser at the Laser Center of Harvard Medical School. The others conducted research into wrinkle treatments and hair transplants at Tokyo University and joined the clinic in as pursuit of the type of partnership management that is popular in advanced countries.
The trend toward group practice is a necessity in a medical service sector that demands intense competitiveness.
President of Dream Dermatology and Laser Center said, "The advantage of group practice is that a better environment for medical treatment can be created through the sharing of expenses for high-priced medical equipment. Furthermore, prompt decision-making by partner doctors enables patients to gain increased access to new medical equipment and treatments." He added that supplementary treatments by doctors with specialized skills help provide patients with high-quality medical services beyond the level of general hospitals.
The other new trend in medical services is the development of cosmeceuticals(functional cosmetics), greater access to skincare products and the use of medical treatments in dermatology and plastic surgery that previously belonged to the field of aesthetics.
In the field of medical treatment after operations, where home treatment is insufficient, cooperative use of skincare products helps increase the positive effects of the treatment.
To deal with the fast-changing international environment, the tradition-oriented Korean medical science field and other industries have seen doctors make greater efforts for self-development, such as entering group practice, introducing cutting-edge medical equipment through partnerships and embarking on direct training to obtain expertise in the most advanced medical techniques.
Not only the dermatology area, but also other areas such ophthalmology, plastic surgery and dental surgery have shown signs of following the current trend toward group practice.