A survey showed that Korean medical institutions recognize the need for and importance of introducing ESG management. Still, fewer than half of them have personnel and departments exclusively responsible for it.

The Korean Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) released the results of its survey, “Medical institutions’ ESG awareness and implementation of ESG management in 2022,” conducted on people working at institutions seeking international healthcare business.

(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

ESG (environmental, social, and governance) has emerged as the new keyword for global businesses reflecting their rising awareness of sustainability.

Medical institutions are also required to enhance ESG activities by, for instance, distributing wealth to the community, taking environment-friendly steps, making transparent decisions, and disclosing information, aside from their basic mission of providing healthcare services.

ESG management has become essential for medical institutions wanting to strengthen global competitiveness by attracting foreign patients and advancing abroad.

Accordingly, the KHIDI’s International Medical Market Analysis Team conducted an online opinion poll on the employees of 1,769 medical institutions seeking to go abroad and lure foreign patients from Oct. 20-31, receiving replies from 877 medical workers.

In the survey, 85.1 percent of respondents, or 747 workers, said they knew about ESG, reflecting high awareness of it in the medical community.

Among the positive respondents, 19.8 percent (174 people) replied it is “very important,” and 37.4 percent (328) answered it is “somewhat important.” Put together, more than half of hospital workers -- 58.6 percent (514) -- thought it important.

Asked whether their institutions are engaged in ESG activities, 93.9 percent (832) said yes about E (environmental), followed by 91.8 percent (805) who cited S (social) and 80.5 percent (706) who cited G (governance).

As specific ESG activities the institutions were engaged in, they cited the use of personal cups and reducing disposable goods at funeral facilities in the E area, improved safety, and health systems within hospitals and safer healthcare services in the S area, and fair personnel management, expanded participation in management and transparent decision-making in the G area.

However, fewer than half (45 percent) said their institutions were operating personnel or divisions exclusively responsible for ESG activities.

Among 359 workers who said “yes,” 362 (91.6 percent) said their institutions have ESG vision and established strategic systems.

“If hospitals have people or organizations related to it, we can think they have established relevant visions and strategies,” the KHIDI said.

Besides, 53.8 percent of respondents said they have received requests or heard about it from foreign governments or global insurance companies related to ESG management in conducting international healthcare projects.

As the result of the survey, we knew that 85 percent of hospital workers are aware of ESG management or are engaged in related activities. However, only 45 percent of these institutions have personnel or organizations responsible for it, making it necessary for us to induce them to set up visions or strategies for ESG management,” said Lee Haeng-shin, head of KHIDI’s International Healthcare Strategy Corps.

Noting that Korean hospitals receive ESG-related requests from overseas, the KHIDI could confirm that ESG management has become a global management trend, Lee said, “KHIDI will provide diverse information related to ESG management for hospitals to promote their ESG management.”

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