Medical Academic Groups Dive into a Blue Ocean of 1.5 Trillion Won Ultrasound Market in South Korea

Medical Academic Groups Dive into a Blue Ocean of 1.5 Trillion Won Ultrasound Market in South Korea

As part of South Korea's President Moon Jae-in's "Care Policy," which aims to provide medical care to everyone, most ultrasound tests have been included in the National Health Insurance coverage. Due to this, interest among doctors in ultrasound has been growing day by day. Medical societies that focus on quality control and improvement of ultrasound medical skills have been established one after another for each medical specialty.

Despite this, hundreds of doctors gather at the academic conferences of these groups to learn the latest medical skills. Where many doctors gather, pharmaceutical and medical device company employees also gather. Ultrasound has become a "blue ocean," and not only doctors but also pharmaceutical and medical device companies are rushing towards ultrasound.

According to data from the National Health Insurance Corporation, the health insurance treatment cost for ultrasound treatment was KRW 1.5 trillion last year, with approximately 16.35 million cases. This sharp increase in ultrasound billing amounts started in 2017 when the policy to cover most ultrasound tests was put in place. This increase is due to the fact that the application of health insurance coverage for ultrasound, such as abdominal ultrasound, became widespread, resulting in a surge in billing amounts and the number of treatments. In fact, it is a dramatic growth trend that exploded due to the coverage change.

However, it is also possible to verify the increase in test volume and billing amounts due to the application of the Moon Jae-in Care policy. With the expansion of health insurance coverage for ultrasound, related academic activities within the medical community have also significantly expanded over the past five years.

More than ten medical groups have been established, which promote ultrasound-related academic activities, and the weight has been shifted to sub-affiliated societies for each medical specialty, such as orthopedics, neurosurgery, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, urology, and neurology.