Koreans look to the UK for their own health service improvements - Solutions 4 Health

Our recent visit by delegates from the South Korean National Health Insurance Corporation was more illuminating that we could have anticipated. In the end, we learned a few things from each other.

The South Korean health system is thought to be extremely good – short waiting times, cheap doctor visits (a few pounds) and cheap medicines too –  although everyone pays a high health insurance premium, funded by nationally levied tax, equivalent to several thousand pounds. The Corporation makes the decisions on where that money is spent, commissioning the many privately provided services. In Korea, doctor’s offices and hospitals are generally privately owned, except for a small number of community hospitals. Private health insurance exists to cover expenses that the national health insurance does not cover.

Doctors are incentivised to see many patients at a primary care level, which can result in the “five minute diagnosis”. But that is balanced by the prevention of more serious and more expensive diseases down the road.

Our Korean visitors were fact-finding in the UK, interested in NHS communications, electronic prescriptions, and consulting Solutions4Health on telehealth best practice, and latest innovations including suitable platforms for electronic records storage. They were also interested in long term conditions and how we treat/manage them in the UK. This is something we are closely involved with through the introduction of our MySelfCare programme, a way of directly addressing the NHS’ growing challenge in balancing the costs of handling LTCs with other priorities.

Another area close to our hearts is Smoking prevalence – at 60% in males, this clearly remains a major issue for S Korea, which is why the delegates were especially interested in our SmokeFreeLife professional support service, which includes online video/text chat and counselling. We truly believe it could make a big difference to them, and we’re definitely talking further to them about it.


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