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Differences between Korean and Indian medical sectors

Two Indian doctors, Dr Anjali Chandra and Dr Bipin Solanki have had their experiences in a South Korean hospital documented by Korea Biomedical Business Review (KBMBR). The married couple spent three months on a fellowship programme at the Ewha Mokdong Hospital in Seoul. Although India has a medical system as sophisticated as that in South Korea, there are key differences in  the technology used and the way that  the doctor and patient relate to one another

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Robotic surgery and other advanced techniques are widely used in Korea

The doctors note that Korea has a consistent pattern of excellence whilst  that the Indian medical system is comprised of two tiers. Private hospitals are typically well equipped, often matching the standards of Korean hospitals. However, such advancement comes at a price, with these facilities often being unavailable to the poorest in Indian society.

Healthcare in government-run hospitals in India is available free of charge. However, these hospitals are often limited in terms of services, treatments and medications available. As a result, they often provide substandard care. This is where a large gulf between Indian care and Korean healthcare is shown, in which consistency between Indian hospitals varies widely in terms of both rich and poor regions, often coinciding with urban and rural areas.

The inconsistency can in part be placed down to doctor patient ratio. “Even though there are more doctors in India than in Korea, it’s not enough. There’s a long list of patients waiting for surgery. Patients, including those suffering from cancer, have to wait almost one year.” says Dr Bipin.

Indians question medical authority more than Koreans do. “Patients here believe their doctors and accept their treatment. In contrast, people in India never listen to their doctor. They always question them. They are very sensitive to price, and also expect a 100-percent guarantee.” Dr Bipin discusses with KBMBR.

Though the discussion is anecdotal, it is likely a common occurrence. It is this kind of attitude that leads to overprescription of antibiotics, as well as patients cutting the antibiotic prescription course short when not seeing immediate results. This is contributing to a huge surge in antibiotic resistant disease across India.

Though cultural attitudes may take generations to change, what can be learned from cultural exchange with Korea is an extensive knowledge of modern and innovative medical techniques such as the use of robotics in surgery.

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