International conference “Medical Korea 2017” kicked off for a two-day run in COEX, southern Seoul, on Tuesday.
Hosted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), Medical Korea opened for its eighth consecutive year to share the vision and direction of global healthcare and medical tourism.
“We are now opening the eighth annual Medical Korea conference to discuss innovations in the healthcare industry. This will help us discuss the future of the healthcare sector as it will contribute to job growth,” KHIDI President Lee Young-chan said.
|Lee Young-chan, president of the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, opens Medical Korea 2017 at COEX in southern Seoul Tuesday.|
About 120 people from the health industry and medical tourism sector will participate in the 18 sessions that discuss developing the health and welfare industry, attracting foreign patients, and entering overseas medical markets, the ministry said.
The conference will also showcase job fairs and other exhibitions. Over 70 domestic overseas medical institutions, local governments and associations will set up 80 booths in the exhibition hall.
The ministry will also sign a memorandum of understanding with Croatia, Nicaragua, and other foreign healthcare authorities to promote inter-governmental exchanges. Government officials from Qatar, Bahrain, and other countries will visit Korea to discuss sending patients and expanding training of medical staff through government training.
“What’s happening in Korea is a model for the rest of the world,” said David H. Freedman, editor of the Atlantic and a regular contributor to the New York Times, who delivered a keynote speech. “It was frightening to think of getting healthcare in other countries – now that is changing. The rest of world is doing more and more with (medical tourism). Not only is this good for the rest of world but also for Korea.”
Medical tourism market is worth around $60 billion and is likely to triple in the next five years, Freedman said, saying this is a crucial opportunity to create international brand awareness of local medical institutions.
“We have medical institutions with excellent names in each country that are never heard of anywhere else in the world. We are now getting increased awareness of the best medical institutions in other countries. It increases patients’ trust if they recognize the name. We now have the opportunity to share that name,” Freedman said.
“The best is yet to come. It’s an exciting time to be in this field,” he added.
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