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[Special] Yongin Severance Hospital to go digital with innovationGeneral director vows to compete with Big 5 by raising work efficiency
  • By Kim Yun-mi
  • Published 2019.10.28 15:45
  • Updated 2019.10.28 15:54
  • comments 0
This is an artist’s rendition of the newly built Yongin Severance Hospital, which will open next February.

It is a digital hospital, but visitors can hardly know it. This is what the new Yongin Severance Hospital seeks to become when it opens early next year.

Choi Dong-hoon, General Director of Yongin Severance Hospital, said he would strive to make the hospital one of the leading digitally innovative hospitals, during an interview with Korea Biomedical Review.

The hospital is working for the final stage of opening. About 90 percent of the construction has been completed for the building to accommodate 755 beds. The hospital has finished recruiting doctors and nurses and is now training them. The construction is scheduled for completion on Nov. 30. After three months of preparation, it will open on Feb. 28 next year.

Yongin Severance Hospital seeks to become a leading hospital in southern Gyeonggi Province. However, it is surrounded by competitive rivals such as Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Ajou University Hospital, and Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University Dongtan.

As it is located within the Seoul metropolitan area, it also cannot help but compete with the nation’s five largest hospitals -- Samsung Medical Center, Asan Medical Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Severance Hospital, and Seoul St. Mary's Hospital.

For a latecomer to win the competition against such formidable rivals, Yongin Severance should go digital, Choi said.

“To overcome the limitation as a latecomer, Yongin Severance Hospital chose a strategy to become ‘a digitally innovative institution,’” he said.

Yongin Severance Hospital is building an administrative system and digital solution to provide on-spot examination and consultation so that patients do not have to wait. To reduce patients’ waiting time and moving routes, the hospital will set up an unmanned kiosk through which patients can make their appointments.

The new patient mobile app, which is a follow-up of the “my-Severance” app provided by Yonsei University Health System, will also maximize patient convenience. The app provides reservation and schedule management services, as well as sharing and updating patient consultation and test results.

Given that the elderly find it difficult to use digital devices, the hospital plans to make its digital system easy to use.

Yongin Severance Hospital General Director Choi Dong-hoon

“We’re already using byproducts of the Third Industrial Revolution such as electricity in our daily lives. However, it is still hard to recognize how the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as artificial intelligence and big data, are near us,” Choi said. “It is the same with digital hospitals. If a patient feels ‘this is digital’ seeing a robot passing by, that is not a digital hospital. In a digital hospital, patients should not recognize it, but services should be more convenient. Doctors and nurses will do less work but more efficiently.”

When a patient gets near to Yongin Severance Hospital, the patient’s smartphone will prompt the hospital to take care of the consultation time, location of care, waiting time, examination progress, payment, prescription, and the next appointment in a seamless way.

Choi noted, however, that such a digital system will not be ready immediately after its opening next year.

“All of these procedures will be perfectly in place in the second hospital, which is to be built by 2030,” he said. The second hospital will be located in the outdoor parking lot of the first hospital, now under construction.

“With the completion of the second hospital, Yongin Severance will be transformed into an entirely digital hospital with 1,500 beds,” Choi added.

Choi is also preparing to nurture talents and create a new profit-making business model.

“To have the system perfectly in function within the hospital, we need every effort. There are many legal and institutional challenges to overcome with the government,” he said. “To do so, we’re accumulating know-how. Through a new digital medical industry center, we will solve problems step by step,” he added.

“Digital medical industry center” is an organization that oversees the development of new business models through research and businesses related to digital solutions and medical industrialization.

“The digital medical industry center will be a hub for convergence of industry, academia, and research that generates profits and meaningful research results,” Choi said. “For this, we hired doctoral researchers in medicine, medical engineering, and statistics. Plus, we plan to add over 10 medical professors to the center.”


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