[ Interview ] One-stop services from treatment to stay for foreign patients
Date : 2018-04-02
Mediplex Sejong Hospital celebrates its first anniversary since its opening as the first medical complex in South Korea.
Located in Gyeyang-gu, Incheon, Mediplex Sejong Hospital was created with the specialty, longtime experiences and know-hows in cardio-cerebrovascular diseases of Bucheon Sejong Hospital that has been designated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare as the only special hospital for heart in South Korea.
Despite the short period of one year, Mediplex Sejong Hospital assures medical quality with the certified systems in various fields, such as obstetrics and gynecology, optometry, etc. other than cardio-cerebrovascular diseases to attract not only Korean patients but also foreigners.
In fact, Mediplex Sejong Hospital has installed a one-stop system to complete all procedures just in one week not only for foreigners residing in Korea but also foreign patients who visit the hospital from their countries to minimize their stay in Korea and their post-surgery/procedure recovery time.
"2 thousand foreign patients per year in Mediplex Sejong Hospital, outpatient proportion increased"
"Mediplex Sejong Hospital cares for about 2,000 foreign patients per year. This figure is already top-class in Incheon and ranks within 10th place nationwide. But we can proudly say that we have the most patients with heart diseases."
The most visible trend of foreign patients is the increase in outpatients. According to Dr. Park Gyeong-seo, the head of the center, the visa free agreements with Russia and Kazakhstan in 2014 acted as priming water.
In fact, Russians comprised 80% of the foreign patients in Mediplex Sejong Hospital, while the rest 20% consists of Kazakhstani.
"It’s not exaggerating to say that Russian and Kazakhstani patients travel to Korea via airway as outpatients to our hospital. 40% of these foreign patients have their hearts examined, 35% to have their health checkup, and the rest are outpatients. The proportions of outpatients have increased a lot. Many of them visit our country visa-free for tourism, and then visit the hospital before departure."
The visa free accessibility is not the sole reason for their preference for Mediplex Sejong Hospital. The hospital’s local marketing efforts have been accumulated from Bucheon Sejong Hospital.
"Hosting medical consultations and information sessions by the doctors from Mediplex Sejong Hospital are among the most general methods of marketing in other countries. However, Mediplex Sejong Hospital steps forward to have established a local hospital called Sejong Eurasia in Pervomayskiy, Almaty, Kazakhstan. Many patients visit this hospital from Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Sakhalin, Irkutsk, Yakutsk, Moscow, etc."
Mediplex Sejong Hospital catches two birds of foreign patient attraction and international advancement with one stone.
▲ Park Gyeong-seo, Head of the International Medical Center, Mediplex Sejong Hospital
"Distinguished total services for foreign patients"
In fact, Mediplex Sejong Hospital was not qualified for foreign patient attraction as per the government, because it had not been a year since their opening. The hospital plans to file an application as soon as it fulfills all requirements. They have already completed all preparations.
The hospital’s medical staff provides optimized medical services to foreign patients with appropriate communication skills. An exclusive team consisting of a foreigner coordinator, Korean marketer, and interpreters offer full-care services.
Additionally, the hospital operates the first exclusive ward (approx. 661m2) for foreign patients in South Korea, offering interpretation and pick-up services at no cost for all processes from arrival in Korea to post-care discharge.
"One of the favorite things of foreign patients in Mediplex Sejong Hospital is that all activities take place in the building, ranging from medical care to non-medical services. You may ask that these services are also offered elsewhere, but Mediplex Sejong Hospital considers the movements of patients. The hospital has maximized convenience for patients to do anything at minimal movement."
The criteria of the evaluation and designation system for foreign patient attracting institutions include multilingual counseling, interpretation services, connections to transportation and accommodation, etc. As such, accommodation selection for foreign patients is an important concern for the hospital.
Mediplex Sejong Hospital endeavors to offer best accommodation services to foreign patients through the partnerships with quality hotels in the locality.
"The most important thing when choosing accommodations for foreign patients is proximity to the hospital. Also, the amenities and food, etc. offered by the hotel should be favorable to foreigners."
"Particularly, cultural convenience is also important, including language support and TV broadcasts from each country available in the accommodation. Transportation services from accommodation to the hospital are also a major criterion."
‘The Charis’ is the closest hotel to Mediplex Sejong Hospital. According to Dr. Park Gyeong-seo, the head of the International Medical Center of the hospital, the medical institution conducts frequent satisfaction surveys on foreign patients, which led to a high degree of satisfaction with the hotel.
Currently, approximately 100 foreign patients visit ‘The Charis’ per month. The hotel is highly satisfactory for foreign patients, owing to its proximity to the hospital (10 minutes by car). The Charis also offers more than 40 types of food for foreigners’ personal taste to attract more foreign patients.
"When choosing an accommodation, foreign patients are given choices of multiple hotels other than The Charis. The hospital guide brochure includes The Charis, because it is the largest and highest reviewed hotel in the locality. We believe that the hospital is responsible for comfortable stay of foreign patients."
Mediplex Sejong Hospital plans to expand its foreign patient attraction and international advancement.
"Sejong Hospital looks forward to becoming the top cardio-cerebrovascular center in Asia by 2020. That is why the hospital knocks on the doors to Southeast Asia, aside from Russia and Kazakhstan. We are doing our best not just to be knocking their doors with words, but also building strategic hubs through local advancement."
▲ The Charis, collaborating hotel for Mediplex Sejong Hotel