Way to Improve Korean Healthcare Ecosystem by U-healthcare System
Professor Lee Chang-won (School of Business)
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Professor Lee Chang-won of School of Business is an expert in the field of healthcare management. From his years at graduate school in the United States, Lee became interested in telemedicine, so-called ubiquitous healthcare (u-healthcare) that can provide healthcare service and treatments to its patients regardless of time and location. After coming back to Korea, Lee started to study more deeply about healthcare management and also wrote a paper on how to effectively and efficiently allocate hospital resources. One of his most recent paper, “Improving healthcare quality: A technological and managerial innovation perspective,” specifically researched on quality characteristics of u-healthcare services for a health care service that influences users’ (hospital staffs) usage intentions.
The background of u-healthcare system starts with the aging society, a society with more than 7 percent of people who are older than 65 in a whole population. Such social changes have become a serious problem in many countries. In Korea as well, due to the increasing life expectancies and lowering birth rate, there are increasing number of elderlies. Societal aging influence on nearly every factor that affect an individual’s life quality, from economic growth, labor markets, housing, and health. To be more specific, it leads to reduction of productive workforce, while the costs of healthcare for the elderly greatly increases.
Thus, it became crucial for the Korean government’s policy makers to initiate an innovative IT-based healthcare system to help people get access to qualified, but more affordable healthcare services. “In the case of patients who need regular medicine subscription or examination, it is unnecessary for them to visit hospitals every time. I think the u-healthcare system will be useful for both patients who requires long-term care and who lives far away from hospitals,” said Professor Lee.
“There are various identified quality characteristics of u-health care. It includes, connectivity, compatibility, complexity, perceived benefit, and perceived trust. It was our purpose of the study to research on how such characteristics actually influence on the usage attention of hospital staffs,” explained Professor Lee. Thus, it is crucial for Korea’s policy makers to understand usage intentions of its stakeholders to later plan and implement the system better.
To do so, Prof. Lee and his team did an empirical research on the 142 staff (physicians, nurses, technicians, and administrative staff) of hospitals in Korea. They used multiple survey methods via both online and offline to collect the needed data. The survey included about 3-4 pages of questions to understand their wiliness for new u-healthcare.
The result showed several interesting connection or relevance between the characteristics of u-healthcare and usage intention of hospital staffs. First, it showed positive relationships with connectivity, compatibility and performance expectancy. It explained how an individual expects themselves to perform better with u-healthcare system when one has an ability to connect with u-healthcare system anytime anywhere. On the other hand, complexity and performance expectancy showed negative responses from the staffs. If a system is complex and difficult, taking more time to handle easily, it showed that their expectancy of performance is likely to reduce.
“There were also quite high conservative responses from some of the staffs from the concern that u-healthcare is more accessible and affordable to patients,” said Prof Lee. “However, this study identifies benefits of u-healthcare system. Thus, it is a new task for us to suggest a new solution for people who are reluctant to adopt and use new technologies,” added Prof. Lee.
Last but not least, Prof. Lee shared some more thoughts about the future of healthcare industry or management. “I feel that there are still misconceptions about “managing” healthcare and hospitals, people easily think that those two concepts of hospital and management cannot go along since management is all about seeking a private interest of a business organization. I think we definitely need a change of recognition,” said Prof. Lee. According to him, healthcare business or management should be more comprehensively compromised on consensus made among key players of healthcare ecosystem. “Managing an organization is not about promoting an interest of a certain group of people, but it is about considering the purpose (or mission) of every individual organization resulting in making a better society,” concluded Prof. Lee.
Yun Ji-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kim Yoon-soo
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