International patients who received treatment at Korean medical institutions showed satisfaction with the nation’s healthcare service with a score of 90.5 points, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Wednesday.
The score is an accumulation provided by 1,200 foreign patients who visited Korea last year from Russia, Central Asia, China, the United States, Mongolia, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
The satisfaction score for foreign patients has been steadily rising beginning with 88 points in 2012, 88.3 points in 2013, 90.1 points in 2014, 90.5 points in 2015, 90.3 points in 2016 and 90.5 points in 2017.
By nationality, patients from Russia gave the highest score with 94.4 points, followed by Central Asia (92.5 points), U.S. (91.8 points), China (90.1 points), Southeast Asia (89.8 points), Middle East (89.5 points), Mongolia (85.2 points) and Japan (84 points).
Regarding what made these foreign patients decide to receive treatment in Korea, the country’s medical technology ranked first with 41.5 percent, followed by medical staff's reputation (18.4 percent) and foreign language service (13 percent).
Also, 93.3 percent of foreign patients answered they are willing to use Korean medical institutions again, while 94.8 percent of the patients said they would recommend the experience to others.
However, the satisfaction score for medical fees and communication and patient respect showed room for improvement with a score of 85.8 and 89.8 points, respectively.
In detail, areas that may need improvement included providing ample time for doctor-patient consultation and appropriateness of medical expenses.
"The number of foreign patients who visited Korea totaled about 320,000 by 2017,” said Kim Hye-seon, an overseas medical service support member at the Ministry of Health and Welfare. “To attract more foreign patients in the future, we will further consult with related workers and experts to improve medical services for foreign patients.”
The ministry will also provide the results of the analysis to agencies that took part in the survey so that they can supplement their respective shortcomings discovered in the opinion poll, Kim added.
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