Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 04, 2012

South Korean Medical Institutions Now Accredited by International Body

If you are hospitalized in South Korea, you will be happy to know that its medical institutions have been now been accredited by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua), which means they may now share expertise and skills with other healthcare organizations around the world. 

The announcement was made by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare (MoHW).

The accreditation body in Korea, the Korea Institute for Healthcare Accreditation (KOIHA), has been acknowledged as an ISQua provider of medical services. This means the country’s own standards are now up to international standards, and, it is hoped, increasing confidence in Korean medical institutions and its international status.

I don’t travel much internationally but I know I would hope to have the same level of services I have here in the U.S. internationally. This accreditation is really a certificate of approval of Korea’s medical services.

Obtaining accreditation is no easy task. KOIHA first had to submit an application to the ISQua Accreditation, evaluate itself and send supporting documents to ISQua. In November 2011, MOHW announced it was amending the country’s medical laws so that accreditation standards could be revised to enable the country to be eligible for international ones.

KOIHA was approved by the ISQua board and as of April 24, 2012, the country’s medical standards now equal international standards. The accreditation certificate applies through April 24, 2016.

"The fact that the KOIHA was accredited by the ISQua proves the Korean healthcare system meets the world's standard, meaning medical services provided by Korean hospitals with the KOIHA Accreditation are safe,” Kim Woen-Jong, an official from MoHW, stated in the press release.

ISQua says it is dedicated to providing “cost-effective analysis and research into the effectiveness of care and patient outcomes.” We all today are concerned with the quality of care in medical institutions. Just witness the number of medical errors that result in deaths every year – 7,000 from medication errors alone.

My many experiences in the hospitals on the East Coast have always been good, and I’ve had everything from biopsies, major surgery to childbirth. Yes, I’ve had complications. I nearly died after giving birth; from a postpartum hemorrhage a week after my son was born. I was rushed to the ER and seen immediately by staff, then operated on to staunch the bleeding, and recovered with no problems. Had I been in a country not accredited by ISQua, I’m not so sure. I’ve been lucky. But I feel that’s because we have high standards of care  

Koreans can stand proud in knowing that their medical institutions are now in the same league.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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