Investigating Healthcare Management System and its Stakeholders: A Case Study of Korea’s MERS Outbreak

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Çakar U., Kim H.

Journal of International Health Science and Management, vol.4, no.6, pp.26-47, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Recently, there is a worldwide increase in the epidemic disease outbreaks. Whenever these emergencies happen, they challenge the health systems and their procedures. Many of the established systems fail in the process and precious time is lost while trying to contain the diseases. In 2015, it took more than two months to contain Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in Korea. Considering the fact that Korea’s geographical location allows travel abroad only by air or sea, control of a Middle East origin disease outbreak should have been easier. However, examination during the outbreak period shows that the country was not prepared for emergency management especially in terms of healthcare management culture. In this study, we present problems and difficulties Korean healthcare organizations confronted during the outbreak and critically review management of Korean healthcare organizations from stakeholder theory’s point of view. By taking one of the biggest hospitals in Korea as a representative case, it can be seen that Korean healthcare organizations do not fulfill accountabilities toward their stakeholders and it led the whole country into chaos both socially and economically. Analysis of the case shows that Korean healthcare organizations’ great focus on financial profit and their corporate structures caused a failure in protecting the hospitals’ main ethical priority: patients’ welfare. Failures of the system show that evaluations of healthcare organization should be solely based on healthcare quality provided by the organization, not by the name value of any related corporations.