'Myongji Hospital to change concept of sports medicine in Korea’
Myongji Hospital is making strides to transform itself into the best sports medicine facility in Korea.
The hospital has recently opened a new sports medicine center under the command of its new president, Kim Jin-goo, a renowned specialist in sports medicine in the nation.
Kim, a graduate of Seoul National University College of Medicine, served as the vice president of Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital and head of Sports Medicine Center at Konkuk University Medical Center.
The sports medicine center will offer comprehensive -- surgical and non-surgical -- treatment and one-on-one special exercise programs for professional athletes. It has various advanced equipment, including an anti-gravity treadmill that can perform joint recovery exercises with weight load control, and high-pressure oxygen therapy capsules used by famous Korean professional sports teams.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Kim talked about the new sports medicine center and how it would affect Myongji Hospital's goal of becoming the "Mayo Clinic of Korea."
Myongji Hospital President Kim Jin-goo examines a patient at the hospital’s new Sports Medicine center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, last Wednesday.
Question: Why did Myongji Hospital decide to establish a sports center?
Answer: Sports medicine centers are common in Western countries, including the U.S. and U.K. Its primary purpose is to help patients get back to normal life quickly after major injuries or surgery by providing rehabilitation.
While the concept of rehabilitation is common in Korea, operating a center that provides rehabilitation through sports is not well known or conducted in Korea.
However, Korean orthopedic doctors have recently recognized the need for rehabilitation through sports activities for the patient to recover faster and return to their daily lives, and such recognition has resulted in the establishment of 10 new sports medical center in Korea.
As I had direct involvement in establishing Korea's first sports medicine center at Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital and then at Konkuk University Medical Center, I decided to use the previous know-how I accumulated over the years and established the sports center in Myongji Hospital.
Q: How is Myongji Hospital's sports medicine center different from other local sport medicine centers?
A: As of now, not much is different. However, I believe that the sports center can achieve great results as I have gained a lot of international reputation and experience over the years. The fact that the hospital is also part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network (MCCN) will help the center further.
The hospital plans to utilize the collaboration with Mayo Clinic, while incorporating technologies from the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as robotic rehabilitation and various scientific approaches using robotic sensors, to become a mecca for sports medicine in Korea.
The ultimate goal is to create a robot rehabilitation center that can identify patients' condition and then use robotic equipment to help patients exercise safely and generate scientific big data. I firmly believe that this will happen in Myongji Hospital soon.
Also, rather than highlighting the differences between other sports centers, Myongji Hospital's goal is to develop news areas the hospital can do to advance Korea's sports medicine field.
Q: How does the hospital plan to do that?
A: The sports medicine centers to date have mirrored the sports centers in the Western nations. However, Korean researchers are publishing new theories on sports rehabilitation or accelerated rehabilitation, which have gained global attention, and are setting new standards in the sports medicine field.
Myongji Hospital will conduct various researches to advance the reputation of Korea's sports medicine further.
Q: In your opinion, where does Korea's sports medicine stand at the international stage?
A: Korea has a strong presence in the global sports medicine field. Academically, Korea ranks among the top three in the top three international journals for sports medicine.
As a result, our academic achievements in the sports medicine field are highly recognized internationally, and a lot of foreign medical staffs come to learn some of the new surgery techniques from Korea doctors.
Unfortunately, sports medicine that covers most of the sports in Korea is not considered as a category of medicine in Korea. The sports education and rehabilitation we provide in our sports medicine center is not covered by health insurance.
Also, the exercise therapists that help treat patients at the sports medicine center are not categorized as medical personnel.
I believe that these are problems that Myongji Hospital has to solve. Also, if this field is to be developed, it has to provide reasonably priced treatments to patients and acknowledge the therapy as a medical act.
As of now, the hospital uses sports medicine to treat the patient if it shows that most promising results and has clinical evidence to back up the treatment.
Also, since the hospital is not operated for profit, we provide patients with excellent medical care at a reasonable price.
Q: How will the sports center help Myongji Hospital in becoming the Mayo Clinic of Korea?
A: The center will provide great help in offering patient-centered care in the hospital.
When I first came to work for the hospital, reporters asked what the hospital meant when it said it would turn the hospital into a Mayo Clinic of Korea. They argued that the phrase seemed far-fetched and claimed that the hospital was using Mayo Clinic just for promotional purposes.
However, I have a vision for Myongji Hospital in becoming the Mayo Clinic of Korea.
Of course, it's only been six weeks since I took office, which makes it hard to show what I have in mind perfectly.
Even in that short time, however, the hospital staff and orthopedic department have tried hard to show a part of what the Mayo Clinic of Korea looks like through the opening of our new sports medicine center.
The sports medicine center will support Myongji Hospital staff to take pride in putting patients first.
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