The Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women, five years after renowned breast cancer specialist Paik Nam-sun took office as the first head of the EUMC cancer center hospital, is on a roll as Dr. Paik’s strategies to attract foreign patients has paid off.
Under Dr. Paik’s leadership, the nation’s only cancer hospital for women saw the cumulative number of foreign patients it attracted surpass the 10,000 mark in 2011, three years since its debut. The EUMC cancer center hospital, now five years since its inception, is entering a phase of stable management with the figure approaching the 20,000 mark. Dr. Paik said, “Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women is in a perfect management stability stage five years after its establishment, particularly with female cancer patients from around the globe on a surge.” But he is not satisfied with this status. He really wants to make it a world top-class women cancer center.
In the past, the nationalities of foreign patents were limited to a few countries, including China, Mongolia, Japan, and Russia. The fame of the EUMC cancer center hospital has been spreading through word of mouth, so patients from further afield have been seeking its services, including those from Kazakhstan, Middle East countries, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway, America and the United Arab Emirates.
Dr. Paik Nam-sun poses with patients from the United Arab Emirates
recovering from a breast cancer operation at the EUMC cancer center.
Dr. Paik said, “Thanks to the achievements, Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women has performed operations on 5 times more breast cancer and 4 times more thyroid cancer than at the early stage of its establishment, and EUMC cancer center hospital has laid a solid foundation as the nation’s representative cancer hospital for women in Korea.”
How could EUMC cancer center hospital accomplish such a feat in so short a period of time? The reason is that the success is owed to special medical and surgical techniques for surgery and also staff’s dedication and hard work. Even big tumor Dr. Paik used to change from mastectomy to breast conserving surgery with neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
A facade view of the Ewha Womans University Hospital in Mok-dong, western Seoul.
In reality, the medical center, since its establishment, has been sticking to a principle of completing services ranging from diagnosis to operation within a week with comfortable service in sharp contrast to ordinary hospitals which takes 2 or 3 weeks.
Full support from the EUMC foundation has played a part. For instance, the foundation has raised the professor quota of the radiologists, pathologists, foreign language speakable coordinators to minimize the time required to diagnose the disease and make familiarity with foreign patients.
Dr. Paik Nam-sun talks with a patient at his office.
Dr. Paik said the medical staff’s dedication has also played a part, for example he comes to the office 6:10 every day and work late into the evening to make good on the principle of wrapping things up within a week. “Even though a patient visits the hospital at 5:30 p.m. we have a system of completing checks-up and diagnosis on the date of arrival in place, and we have infrastructure to finish up radiological diagnosis, and in case of cancer suspicious, pathological results can get within three hours,” he said.
He pointed out the fact that the feat the EUMC cancer center has accomplished in a short period of time is impossible without the all staffs’ and supporters’ dedication and their efforts have apparently moved patients and gave confidences.
Dr. Paik Nam-sun’s team sometimes performs simultaneous breast reconstruction
(TRAM or implant) during cancer surgery which gives patients satisfaction in terms of QOL.
Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women is setting its sights on establishing itself as a symbolic woman cancer hospital not only in Korea but also all over the world. An option to change the whole university hospital into a medical center specializing in cancer for women is under study in the soon-to-be Magok Era. The university hospital is to open a new medical center with 1,000 beds by 2017, from the current 874 beds, in Magok-dong near Gimpo International Airport according to the government’s plan to make a new satellite city, now under development.
The Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women has infrastructure such as advanced
cancer treatment facilities to offer a differentiated, fast-track, one-stop service ranging from diagnosis to operation within a week.
Big Shot in Women’s Cancer Trea-tment
The EUMC cancer center hospital has proved to be a big shot in the field of treating women’s cancer, as the result of a breast cancer treatment evaluation conducted by the National Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service last year showed that the Ewha Womans University Cancer Center hospital for Women scored 99.82 points — higher than the overall average of 95.08 points — and the 98.43 point average for top-class general hospitals.
The EUMC cancer center hospital won the top brand award for a fifth year in a row in the female cancer category from Women’s News Inc. in 2013, and won the most trusted brand in the cancer hospital category from Digital Josun Daily News, and many newspapers.
Differentiated Services and Facilities Make a Difference
The EUMC cancer center hospital is committed to wrapping up a one-stop service ranging from diagnosis to operation within a week in order to enhance the confidence of patients in their healing as well as taking into account their quality of life so that they can enjoy comfort and solace after finishing treatments. It is gaining popularity as health checks are conducted in space exclusively for the use of women, and expert coordinators are in place to provide one-on-one services tailored to meet patients’ specific needs, thus easing their anxieties and misgivings.
The EUMC cancer center hospital offers a free educational program, titled “Power UP,” designed to promote effective treatment of cancer patients and women’s healthy life. The program, upgraded this year with additional 'smiling and art healing treatment' methods, enjoys popularity among cancer patients. The integrated education program invigorates the operation of such associations as breast cancer patients’ gatherings designed to ensure effective cancer treatment and promote patients’ health.
In cooperation with the global buffet restaurant chain Todai Korea, the EUMC cancer center hospital is conducting a campaign to promote foods conducive to cancer prevention and treatment. It offers many disease related CD, health books, including a medical tip authored by a 16-member medical team specializing in each medical fields.
Securing Trust Through Introduction of Advanced Medical Systems
Introducing a wide range of state-of-the-art technologies designed to enhance efficiency of cancer diagnosis and treatments gains patients’ confidence. The EUMC became the first Korean medical institution and the second in Asia to introduce a 128-channel PET-CT, an advanced image diagnosis system, in November 2011.
In the latest developments, Paik said, his hospital has introduced the Digital 3D Tomosynthesis Mammography, a cutting edge technology for clear imaging and faster and sensitive detection of breast cancer, and the Trilogy, a radiation machine that can treat cancer anywhere in the human body by targeting tumors precisely and delivering a higher dose of radiation and requiring fewer treatment sessions. The latest medical systems promise to be a magnet for attracting more patients since it could minimize time, economic, and psychological burden by finishing radiation treatments after only one operation or reducing it to one week instead of the conventional two months. Dr. Paik’s team sometimes performs simultaneous breast reconstruction (TRAM or implant) during cancer surgery which gives patients satisfaction in terms of quality of life.
Attracting Foreign Patients Through Globalization Strategies
Dr. Paik’s team’s medical service to Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia is part of his scheme to make the EUMC cancer center hospital “global and local” with the goal of letting foreigners know Korea’s medical ascendancy by conducing volunteer medical services in various countries and carrying out operations and giving lectures in foreign countries. He has been providing volunteer medical services and giving lectures on his expertise on not only breast cancer but also all about cancer in many cities in Korea.
The EUMC cancer center hospital’s strategies to go global have paid off. They are owed to its attracting an increasing number of foreign patients from such countries as Mongolia, China, Kirgystan, Russia, Thailand, the United States, Mexico, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and the United Arab Emirates.
The EUMC cancer center hospital has established a system to give priority in treating foreign patients to minimize their waiting time and overall stay. It also offers one-on-one services tailored to meet foreign patients’ needs through coordinators speaking Chinese, Russian, Arabic and other languages.
The EUMC cancer center hospital increasingly conducting clinical research into women’s cancers in order to gain mid-and long-term growth momentum and secure a global competitive edge.
The EUMC cancer center’s strategies to attract foreign patients have paid off.
President Dr. Paik Nam-sun is all smiles with patients from the Middle East and their family members.
The Singing Doctor
Dr. Paik’s current position may be the last of his contribution to the development of the Korean medical field. His management capability is noteworthy.
Dr. Paik loves to sing a jazz, to write and to read poems, and to learn foreign languages, including English, Chinese and Japanese, partially Mongolian, Arabic and Russian. He still wants to communicate with foreign patients, so that they can undergo treatment in a more amiable and familiar environment.
Dr. Paik took the stage 5 times to sing in addition to the invited singers brought in to entertain patients during his inauguration ceremony. He has held jazz performances five times so far with Korea’s first generation jazz musicians Yoon Hee-jung, Lim Bek-cheon, Ryu Yeong, and German jazz group Saltacello. He was dubbed the “Namsun Sinatra,” after the late Frank Sinatra, as he takes the stage to sing songs whenever he tours foreign countries to participate in medical workshops or give lectures on breast cancer.
A graduate of Seoul National University Medical College in 1973, Dr Paik has been in the medical treatment field for more than 40 years, becoming one of the doctors who have shot to stardom in Korea and abroad. Dr Paik, who earned a doctorate at the Seoul National University Medical College Surgery Department, took up such positions as the director of the Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences (KIRAMS), Seoul and the director of Konkuk University Medical Center. He attended the ESO, Italy, Breast Cancer Course; the CME, USA, Breast Cancer Course; the ESCO, Italy, Breast Cancer Course; and underwent a clinical doctor’s training course at National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Hospital in New York, the Dana-Farber Medical Center affiliated Harvard Medical Center, Boston. Dr. Paik was elected as a Top-100-Doctor in the field of Stomach and Breast Surgery in 2006 IBA at Cambridge, Engl-and.