South Korea technology to relaunch medical travel

South Korea is re-launching its medical travel sector by promoting state-of-the-art medical equipment, smart IT-based medical technologies, smart hospitals, and innovative treatments particularly for cancer.

Korean general hospitals are offering transplants, robotic surgeries, and endoscopic operations to attract international patients. The rate of adoption of the electronic medical record (EMR) system by Korean medical institutions is among the highest globally. In an index that assesses robotic endoscopic surgery, medical equipment, diagnostic system, and medical systems, Korea ranks second worldwide.

Korea’s cancer survival rate is more than double the average among OECD countries. The five-year survival rate of stomach cancer patients is 77% in Korea, which is two or three times higher than that of the US (32.4%) and UK (21.6%).

The country is considered an international leader in cancer treatment, boasting four out of the top 20 hospitals in the world for cancer treatment. Hospitals, universities, and various research institutes in the country are dedicated to new medical technologies used for cancer treatment.  Many foreign patients go to Korea to receive robotic surgeries to treat various cancers, including colorectal and stomach cancer.

1,000 doctors worldwide apply annually for medical training in Korea to learn the country’s integrated cancer treatment systems, including integrated precision medicine platforms that leverage clinical data on cancer patients, in addition to robotic surgeries.

Professional medical tourism agencies registered with the Ministry of Health and Welfare provide medical tourism services, ranging from airport pickups to hospitalisation, treatment, surgery, and tours.  The government runs an international medical tour coordinator license programme which aims to raise the satisfaction levels of medical tourists.