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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 56(4); 2013 > Article
Journal of the Korean Medical Association 2013;56(4):258-260.
Published online April 18, 2013.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5124/jkma.2013.56.4.258   
Medical ethics and self-regulation in Korean medical society
Younsuck Koh
1Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. yskoh@amc.seoul.kr
2Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Consumption of medical services has been expanding since the health insurance system was established in the Republic of Korea. However, physicians do not seem to be satisfied with the current state of medical practice. One of the main reasons for this dissatisfaction seems to be related to underpayment of costs. The monopolistic insurance agency has kept reimbursements for appropriate medical services below cost. The public also seems to have less trust in doctors than in the past because of repeated scandales in the news media such as doctors' accepting inappropriate rebates from the pharmaceutical industry. Patients are vulnerable to illness and depend on their doctors' decision making and advising. Plus family members and taxpayers must share in caring and the financial burden that patients face. Therefore, society has high ethical standards for physicians. The medical society also has been responding to these practices. To meet society's expectations, doctors should not abandon self-regulation through the medical society. Furthermore, because the identity of a professional healthcare provider is based on the trust and endorsement of society, physicians should attempt to maintain appropriate care for patients' best interests. The public should support physicians' appropriate medical practice via reasonable reimbursement of medical costs. Through self-support and self-regulation to maintain appropriate medical practice for patients, physicians can enhance public trust. In turn, public trust in doctors will address this country's distorted medical services and restore the eroded reputation of physicians as healthcare professionals.
Key Words: Ethics, Identity, Self-regulation, Public trust, Interdependence


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