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'Patient safety threatened despite technological advance'
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.08.21 16:41
  • Updated 2019.08.21 17:14
  • comments 0

Korean hospitals should introduce the right digital solution, as they might overlook the importance of patient safety in the technology-led environmental changes, Korea University Anam Hospital (KUAH) President Park Jong-hoon said.

Korea University Anam Hospital President Park Jong-hoon stresses the need to build a new digital system to overcome various problems facing local hospitals, during a news conference as part of the K-Hospital 2019 at COEX, southern Seoul, on Wednesday.

"In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the medical industry is undergoing enormous changes owing to the development of high-tech digital technology," Park said during a press event held by GE Healthcare at K-Hospital Fair 2019. "However, the management of resources such as manpower and hospital beds is still poorly managed, leading to high emergency room congestion, long examinations, and waiting time, which, in turn, is affecting patient safety."

KUAH has introduced various systems, such as building an advanced convergence medical center which will implement up-to-date infrastructure, medical and research system, to establish itself as a next-generation hospital, Park noted.

"However, patients visiting hospitals have been growing steadily over the years due to population aging and expanded insurance coverage," Park said. "These saturated conditions at hospitals, including KUAH, have caused cost pressures and technology overloads for hospitals, while regulatory complexities remain."

Park pointed out that the number of new procedures has increased thanks to the development of various inspection equipment, but necessary tests are often overlooked, or the results of the tests cannot be followed.

"We anticipated that the introduction of the digital computer system would improve the working environment of the hospital staff, but it only increased the workload of the employees," he said

All this explains why hospitals are questioning if the development of digital technology did indeed lead to the improvement of patient safety and the working environment of employees, he added.

Park stressed that it is essential for the hospital to be aware of the situation within the hospital and prepare for unexpected events such as medical accidents.

"As of now, it is impossible to increase manpower enough to ensure patient safety satisfactorily," he said.

To resolve such uncertainty, Park stressed that hospitals need a drastic change and start implementing an operating system that makes more efficient use of the rapidly developing digital technology and improves the quality of medical services.


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