By Laura Carabello
Executive Editor and Publisher
Medical Travel Today
What happens when the ambassadors from at least five nations — including Russia, UAE and Kuwait – and hundreds of delegates from at least 40 countries convene in your nation’s capitol city to discuss medical tourism?
The answer: Medical Korea 2011 in Seoul, South Korea.
While others in the medical tourism industry have made several sojourns to this land of advanced medical technology and sophisticated healthcare delivery, it was a first for me. True to its reputation, the South Korean brand of medicine fell nothing short of excellent.
First, a word about the programs. Speakers were well-prepared and delivered some new perspectives:
-Sharon Sweeney Fee, RN explained the role of nurses in promoting interoperability of Electronic Health Records and the impact upon medical travelers
-Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law at Harvard gave us some fresh ideas on the ethics of certain procedures not legal in the US but offered in certain countries
-Scott Frankum, MBA and publisher of The Well Report shared his marketing savvy and empowered attendees with new strategies for capturing the vast patient population that has yet to be tapped for medical travel.
I could go on — because the breadth of information and innovative idea-sharing was profound. To the credit of the planners, all presenters stuck to their appointed timeframes and nobody broke the 25-30 minute allotments — what a treat for the audience!
Those who were fortunate enough to visit the hospitals got a bird’s eye view of what Korean healthcare is all about:
-Efficiency …with complete implementation of electronic patient records
-Caring professionals…3:1 nurse patient ratios and 2:1 or 1:1 in the ICUs
-Roomy – I daresay “plush” – accommodations
-Friendly, well-trained physicians and caregivers
-Innovative approaches to treating disease…and some services that bear replication, such as fully-outfitted and staffed Dentistry units for ongoing dental care.
Moreover, the food and ambiance met all expectations for a first-class experience. We worked, we learned and we enjoyed.
Hats off to the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) that organized the event and worked hard to keep everyone engaged, informed, well-fed and entertained. If I’ve used a lot of superlatives to describe the experience, please understand that the accolades are not empty words.
If you have your calendars handy for 2012, mark the dates April 17-19…KHIDI is already planning the next event.