Culturally Appropriate Care Planning for Korean Culture
Tools are needed to support the continuous and efficient shared understanding of a patient’s care history that simultaneously aids sound intra- and interdisciplinary communication and decisionmaking about the patient’s future care. Such tools are vital to ensure that the continuity, safety, and quality of care endure across the multiple handovers made by the many clinicians involved in a patient’s care.
The South Korean healthcare system is run by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and is free to all citizens at the point of delivery. The system is funded by a compulsory National Health Insurance Scheme that covers 97% of the population. Foreign nationals living in South Korea enjoy the same access to universal healthcare as the local people. South Korean healthcare offers the choice of occidental (Western) medicine, or traditional oriental treatments, many of which have been extensively researched and developed alongside their modern counterparts. The country leads the world in the treatment of skin diseases, both in techniques and technology.
Korean patients can go to any doctor or any medical institution, including hospitals, which they choose. The referral arrangement system is divided into two steps. The patient can go to any medical practitioner office except specialized general hospitals. If the patient wants to go to a secondary hospital, he/she has to present a referral slip issued by the medical practitioner who diagnosed him/her first. There are some exceptions: in the case of childbirth, emergency medical care, dental care, rehabilitation, family medicine services, and hemophiliac disease, the patient can go to any hospital without a referral slip. South Korea’s healthcare security system has three arms: the National Health Insurance Program, Medical Aid Program, and Long-term Care Insurance Program.(OECD Health Data 2008.)
To conclude, the quality and general satisfaction of Korean healthcare has consistently been one of the best in the world, comparing with other OECD countries. These were all resulted by the efforts of the government, medical society and the people of Korea. From my observation, Korean work incredibly long hours compared to western standards. It is probably the relentless dedication and commitment to the country that Korea achieves a good-quality, affordable and efficient health care system.
Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs Annual Report
2006, 2007, 2008.
OECD Health Data 2008.
National Health Insurance Corporation (www.nhic.or.kr).
National Health Insurance Act.
Enforcement Decree of the National Health Insurance Act.