의료서비스산업 선진화를 위한 제도개선과제
Despite the recent demand for upgrading health services, it is difficult to build consensus on the implications for advancement in the health service sector. In general, the degree of advancement in an industry was measured by the size of its industrial output, however, the advancement of health service should be measured by the responsive capability in which people's demands are met while maximizing their welfare, and allowing them to use quality service with less economic burden.
Under this context, this study investigates regulations that would be needed or should be removed in order to strengthen consumer power and to change the health service market into a more personalized consumer-oriented industry. Then, the study tries to seek measures to improve them.
The study first reviews what has been missing in Korea’s medical system in view of the goal, the maximization of consumer satisfaction. It is found that policies in the sector so far have focused on control-oriented measures and overlooked the existence of market. As a result, the market mechanism of health services today is diagnosed to work improperly. This is mainly because whereas the sector in need of government’s active participation is actually lacking government intervention and the sector in need of entrepreneurial autonomy is overloaded with strict regulations that hinder creative new attempts.
Above all, consumers are not empowered to make proper choices. Without standards of judgment, people are scrambling to large-scale hospitals. Medical institutions focus more on expanding externally than on competing on price and service quality, in other words, distorted competition structure. Not only that, suppliers attempting creative and innovative management, or potential competitors wishing for new entry into the market resort to expedients of bypassing regulations. In this process, they come to frequently practice illegal methods such as skimming of profits.
This study identifies the problems in the regulation environment that cause inefficiency and opacity in the health service industry and then makes suggestions for improvement. For instance, vague regulations with little practical use, such as those related to the establishment of medical institution should be eradicated. This study also reviews areas that the government should actively intervene by establishing clear and strict rules and also be fully responsive. For example, the issue of sharing information on price and service quality of public institutions requires active intervention by the government for the purpose of protecting consumers and activating competitive mechanism. The management of the quality of medical personnel strongly requires the supervisory function of government for the purpose of laying the foundation for consumer choice. As for the sales of pharmaceutical products, it is urgent that the government should expand distribution channels so as to further encourage price competition.
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