South Korean hospitals voluntarily remove paper

September 29th, 2014 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document and Information Capture | Document Management

In South Korea, where hospitals are not required to adopt electronic medical records, many are anyway in the highly-connected country.

Seoul National University Bundang Hospital is one health care facility that has adopted a number of paperless platforms such as electronic medical records, data archiving systems and disaster recovery safeguards, according to the Korea Herald. And all of these digital adoptions have come about though the government has yet to oblige hospitals to adopt any sort of content management system.

"I think the achievement has to do with South Korea's contemporary culture, which is uniquely IT-driven," said Yun Jong-hoar, the medical information manager at the hospital, told the news outlet. "No one wants an unnecessary wait. Everyone has smartphones. Efficiency is one of the most appreciated values. The ideal is to have the maximized output with minimal cost and resources. And the local medical industry has obviously been affected by such a culture and sense of value as well."

In the United States, health care facilities that adopt electronic medical records and similar technologies can receive cash incentives, the publication explained. U.S. hospitals that fail to adopt document storage systems in time will be subject to penalizations. 

Hospitals in South Korea and the U.S. are implementing all sorts of digital systems partially because the ways in which they've been proven to enhance patient safety. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, computerized data-entry has been shown to reduce serious medical mistakes by as much as 55 percent. For example, barcodes utilized by some health care centers significantly reduce the incidence of adverse medication incidents. 

"Using the tablet PC and smartphones enables us doctors to monitor our patients' conditions regardless of our location and it certainly improves the quality of health care," Yoon Sung-hyun, a South Korean doctor, told the Korea Herald. 

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