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Poling Says PR Strategy Needed to Facilitates Medical Tourism in Korea

By Park Sae-jin Posted : July 13, 2010, 16:43 Updated : July 13, 2010, 16:43

Curtis Poling, representative of KMI International Inc.

(아주경제 이정은 기자) While South Korean government makes efforts for invigoration of medical tourism in the country, one foreigner's opinion gave some implications to the industry.

Curtis Poling, representative of KMI International Inc., is the one who organized a meeting between Korea Tourism Organization and the National Cancer Center(NCC). He helped them to sign a MOU to attract foreign tourists in need for medical treatments as well as sightseeing.

Mr. Poling is an active advocate of proton beam therapy(PBT) in treating cancer. Having been successfully treated with PBT for prostate cancer, he continues to be mentors for those who may benefit for this advanced treatment. He has spent 120 thousand dollars for the treatment.

He said that he wants to tell American cancer patients his hands-on exprience about Korean medical equipments and medical team for PBT treatments.
Mr. Poling participated in the "Proton Beam Therapy Korea Forum" which was held at the NCC on July 8, and he gave a speech about medical tourism and attracting foreigners under the speech named "the guideline for global healthcare provider and arrangers".

He put a high valuation on government's passion for the medical tourism.

But he pointed out that there isn't any PR strategy and marketing firms to be an intermediary between overseas patients and hospitals.

"Though Korean medical centers like the NCC are very cooperative and patient-centered, they still haven't got any long term plans or PR strategies which highlight the distinctive strengths of Korean medical system," Poling said.

"Patients choose a medical center not because of infrastructures and environments but because of its medical safety and clinical demonstrations," he added.

He highlighted that the medical tourism industry should continue to provide information and various promotions for international patients.

"Korea needs not only forums, seminars and conferences for the local, but it also should establish a proper policy to promote its medical system for the international," he said.

Mr. Poling also pointed out the need for medical markets which provide a 'total solution' to the patients.

In addition, he said that the exchanges with overseas experts will be a foundation stone to the industry's future. He advised that special marketing institution on medical tourism is needed for Korea.

"Various PR and marketing strategies are important. But most of all, the humanely approach or humanistic point of view is the most important thing for the medical tourism," he said.

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