South Korea is now testing a new remote concept that enables collaboration between health professionals across different medical institutions.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
A pilot project has been launched to establish an “efficient and sustainable” remote collaboration system.
The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) have chosen three hospitals to partake in this pilot, namely: Gachon University Gil Hospital in Incheon, Pusan National University (PNU) Yangsan Hospital in South Gyeongsang, and Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital in Gyeonggi.
In implementing the project, both Gil Hospital and PNU Yangsan Hospital will use an independent (portal) type system while Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital will have a VPN-connection type and medical information exchange system. The three organisations will closely work with the MOHW and KHIDI for these implementations.
Over the next seven months, remote collaboration networks will be established: Gil Hospital will connect with 12 nursing hospitals in Incheon, PNU Yangsan Hospital with two rehabilitation hospitals in Busan, and Dongtan with three regional medical centres and 12 partner hospitals in Gyeonggi.
WHY IT MATTERS
In South Korea, hospitals can request a remote consultation with health professionals from other medical institutions regarding a patient’s case if necessary. They only have to secure consent from the patient first.
The government is supporting such remote collaborations between health professionals across hospitals given its potential to raise the quality of medical service, including reducing unnecessary hospital transfers and closing the gap in medical resources in small and medium-sized health facilities.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The KHIDI first tried out and verified the standards of a remote consultation system last year. Dongtan Sacred Heart and Hospital and National Health Insurance Service Ilsan Hospital formed the first remote collaboration network with six small and medium-sized hospitals and 24 medical departments.
It found the system to be effective in improving the vacancy and shortage of medical resources in small hospitals and enables follow-up management and patient monitoring after discharge.
ON THE RECORD
“Remote collaboration has been proven to raise the quality of medical services, such as reducing unnecessary transfers, allocating appropriate and safe patients, and improving the medical resource gap in local small and medium-sized hospitals. However, there may be limitations in some types of remote collaboration systems. Through this pilot project, we will secure various best practices and analyse their safety and effectiveness. We will actively support remote collaboration so that it can contribute to improving patient convenience and medical quality,” Eun Seong-ho, medical support officer at the MOHW, commented.