"Chinese show keen interest in 'Gangnam-style medical hallyu.'" (November 11, 2011)
THE DONG-A ILBO
"A Korean medical tourism information session involving 12 hospitals from Seoul’s Gangnam district took place at Yangyuan Hotel in Dalian City, China on Friday. The event brought together more than 300 people, including citizens and officials from local medical tourism agencies, and local hospitals. The participants attentively watched presentations by medical doctors from Korean hospitals, including Samsung Seoul Center, MizMedi Women`s Hospital and BK Plastic Surgery Hospital, who are widely recognized for excellence in their respective fields of medicine.
The event was organized to attract Chinese patients who have growing interest in quality medical service amid China’s robust economic growth. Accompanied by chiefs of 12 major medical institutions including general hospitals, medical checkup centers, plastic surgery clinics, skin clinics and gynecological clinics, and their professional interpreters, the Gangnam ward office, which hosted the event, visited Dalian’s Zhongshan ward, a district in sisterhood relationship with the former.
Shin Yeon-hee, chief of the Gangnam ward office, said “Gangnam district is a hub of medical tourism, where visitors can receive diverse medical services, ranging from severe illness to cosmetic plastic surgery, because it is home to more than 2,400 hospitals, including those for plastic surgery, skin care, and spinal surgery as well as general hospitals.”
Jiang Suhua, chief of the Jhongshan ward office who invited Gangnam ward, said, “Among Korea’s medical technology, cosmetic plastic surgery is widely known in China for its excellence.” He added, “I hope to see expanding exchange between Gangnam ward and China, and generation of significant achievements.”
Also notable at the information session were local patients in Dalian City, who visited the event to receive one-on-one counseling with Korean medical doctors. A 75-year-old man requested counseling, saying that he had stomach pain after undergoing rectal cancer surgery. Prof. Park Min-jeong from Seoul National University Hospital’s Gangnam Center inspected treatment records and prescription with a translator’s assistance, to find that improper drug was subscribed, and gave the Chinese patient advice on medicine and dietary habit. Local medical tourism agencies who recruit patients for medical tourism also attended the event and inquired Korean hospital officials about various medical services.
Officials from Korean hospitals expressed strong expectation that such an information session will significantly contribute to boosting the number of medical tourists to Seoul. Noh Seong-il, chairman of MizMedi Women`s Hospital, which is widely known its advanced sterilization surgery among patients in Russia and Central Asian countries, said, “Up until the time when we first visited Russia several years ago, we never expected that sales revenue from Russian patients at my hospital would increase to 4 billion won (3.8 million U.S. dollars) level this year. We should more proactively promote Korea’s medical technology.”
Seeing opportunities in the Chinese medical tourism market, Gangnam ward office has been stepping up efforts to attract Chinese patients by visiting Chinese cities including Beijing and Tianjin in 2010, and Guangzhou and Shanghai in 2011. The number of Chinese patients who visited Gangnam ward has been rising year after year from 5,766 in 2010 to 8,295 in 2012."
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