Original Article
Korean J Prev Med. 1975; 8(1): 71-82.
A Medical Care Utilization Study of a Private Medical Clinic in Rural Korea.
B M Lee, S H Yu, and I S Kim
This research is to explore medical care utilization of local private medical clinic which covers most of medical care in rural area in Korea. The local private medical clinics usally staffed with one physician are fairly well distributed even to rural area and they take care of the most primary care. However, the pattern of medical care in these clinic have never been explored systemactically previously. The Gangwha Christ King Clinic, a non-proprietary care unit without bed run by Meryknoll sisters, was used for this study. Records of 17,853 patients during the past 11 years (1964-1974) were analyzed and interpreted. Followings are the result of the study: 1. The utilization rate was higher among those who lived in areas near the clinic. However, this tendency were getting less prominent by the progress of year. 2. The highest utilization rate was shown in ages between 0-4. When adjusted by the population structure, the utilization rate in this age showed 3.5 times higher than other ages. Male was more dominant ages under 20, however ages over 20 femalc outnumbered male. 3. The utilization rates were highest in April and August which are non-busy months in rual area, however the rate was the lowest in December and January. 4. The most common disease seen at the clinic was pulmonary tuberculosis and gastrointestinal diseases came next. 5. While the proportion of pulmonary tuberculosis had markedely decreased during the past 11 years, the skin diseases had increased substantially. Other diseases showed only minor changes. 6. The average number of visit to the clinic per disease decreased from 5.2 in 1964 to 2.4 in 1974. 7. The medical care cost per disease in 1964 was w986 and it increased to w2,555 in 1974. This is about 2.6 times increase. However, considering general inflation during the past 11 years the increase was not impressive. (Increment of national during that period was 2.5-3 times. ) 8. The average drug cost per disease increased 2.4 times and average laboratory fee about 5 times during the 11 years. 9. Only 0.8% of total patients was classified as unable to afford the medical care financially and also only 0.8% of total patients was necessitated discount. 10. About 30% of patients were not able to pay the fee at the time of visit, and about 50% of them payed back the fee within two months.