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JKM > Volume 45(1); 2024 > Article
Kim, Kim, Oh, Ahn, and Kim: Questionnaire Survey on Perception and Attitude Toward of Remote Treatment by Korean Medicine Doctors

Abstract

Objectives

Following the global COVID-19 pandemic, with the escalation of remote medical care formalization in Korea, there is a pressing need for objective data in the Korean medicine field to respond to remote treatment medical care policies. This study aims to investigate the perceptions and acceptance of remote treatments among Korean Medicine Doctors (KMDs).

Methods

After expert reviews and pilot testing, the 31-question survey covered participant characteristics, experiences, forms, intentions, and perceptions related to Remote Treatments. The survey was electronically distributed to members of the Association of Korean Medicine, and 662 clinical KMDs provided valid responses.

Results

Among respondents, 76.1% engaged in remote treatments, utilizing various platforms. Those with experience in Remote Treatments showed a significantly higher willingness to continue participating during the institutionalization process (p<0.001). 49.7% of respondents stated that traditional Korean medicine is competitive in remote treatments, with the main reasons being the ability for regular management after herbal medication(26.1%) and increased patient satisfaction due to sufficient counseling compared to Western medicine(25.2%). Respondents preferred Remote Treatment conditions with a treatment time of less than 10 minutes(47.6%) and equivalent fees to in-person visits(45.6%). Regarding suitable intervention tools during Remote Treatment, respondents favored non-covered herbal prescriptions(39.0%), covered herbal granules(24.6%), and non-covered herbal granules(23.0%).

Conclusion

This study investigated the perceptions and acceptance of KMDs regarding remote treatments. These findings provide valuable insights for policymakers aiming to establish effective policies for Remote Treatments suitable for the Korean medicine healthcare environment.

Table 1
Investigation Content
Category
General characteristics
 Gender, Age, Durations of clinical experience, Affiliation, Clinical training, Area of residence

Experience and form of participation in remote treatment
 Remote treatment for diseases, Satisfaction with remote treatment, Reasons for not remote treatment

Intention and perception of using remote treatment
 Benefits of remote treatment, Concerns about remote treatment, Disease groups suitable for remote treatment, Appropriate time required for remote treatment and mediation tools, Appropriate medical expenses for remote treatment, Desired platform for remote treatment, Readiness and competitiveness of remote treatment in Korean medicine
Table 2
Demographic Characteristics of Subjects
(N=662)

Classification N(%)
Gender Male 474(71.6)
Female 188(28.4)

Age group 20–29 42(6.3)
30–39 223(33.7)
40–49 242(36.6)
50–59 121(18.3)
60> 34(5.1)

Durations of clinical experience(year) <10 225(34.0)
10–19 239(36.1)
20–29 147(22.2)
30> 51(7.7)
No clinical experience 0(0.0)

Affiliation Korean medicine clinic 497(75.1)
Korean medicine hospital 112(16.9)
Nursing hospital 26(3.9)
Public health center·Public health center branch 19(2.9)
The others 8(1.2)

Clinical training General practitioner 476(71.9)
Specialist 186(28.1)
 Internal medicine of Korean medicine 51(27.4)
 Acupuncture & Moxibustion medicine 41(22.0)
 Rehabilitation medicine of Korean medicine 26(14.0)
 Gynecology of Korean medicine 24(12.9)
 Neuropsychiatry of Korean medicine 13(7.0)
 Sasang constitution medicine 10(5.4)
 Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology & Dermatology of Korean medicine 13(7.0)
 Pediatrics of Korean medicine 8(4.3)

Area of residence Seoul 213(32.2)
Gyeonggi·Incheon 172(26.0)
Daejeon·Chungcheong·Sejong 62(9.4)
Gangwon 15(2.3)
Busan·Ulsan·Gyeongnam 79(11.9)
Daegu·Gyeongbuk 61(9.2)
Gwangju·Jeolla 53(8.0)
Jeju 7(1.1)
Table 3
Remote treatment experience
(N=662, Multiple Response)

Classification N(%) Total
Experience Yes 504(76.1) 662(100.0)
No 158(23.9)

Participation form COVID-19 telephone counseling center or Korean medicine center operated by the Association of Korean medicine 89(17.7) 504(100.0)
Telephone, internet, or messenger at affiliated medical instructions 467(92.7)
Remote treatment mediation platform 31(6.2)
Others 5(1.0)

Targeted medical condition Musculoskeletal disorders 85(16.9) 504(100.0)
Health prevention and management condition 329(65.3)
Internal disease 226(44.8)
Management of sequelae after traffic accidents 22(4.4)
COVID-19 and related sequelae 212(42.1)
Chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes 35(6.9)
Others 65(12.9)

Time of treatment Initial visit 171(33.9) 504(100.0)
Follow-up 333(66.1)
Table 4
Requirements for remote treatment
(N=662)

Classification N(%)
Appropriate treatment time (minutes) <10 315(47.6)
10–19 312(47.1)
20–29 32(4.8)
30> 3(0.5)

Appropriate treatment fee (rate of in-person visit fee) <10 122(18.4)
<20 62(9.4)
<30 32(4.8)
Equal 302(45.6)
10> 54(8.2)
20> 35(5.3)
30> 53(8.0)
Others 2(0.3)

Suitable inter vention tool Covered herbal granules 163(24.6)
Covered herbal prescriptions 51(7.7)
Non-covered herbal granules 152(23.0)
Non-covered herbal prescriptions (including decoctions and pills) 258(39.0)
Determination after In-depth Examinations 25(3.8)
Others 13(2.0)

Preferred platform Private platform Actively using existing platforms (such as Ddocdoc, Goodoc, Doctornow) 60(9.1)
Reluctantly using existing platforms 99(15.0)

Public platform Willing to use a public platform developed by the government or the Association of Korean medicine 481(72.7)
Others 22(3.3)

Characteristics of patients mainly visited Chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes 61(9.2)
Common ailments such as cold 163(24.6)
Musculoskeletal disorders such as degenerative joint diseases and gonarthrosis 21(3.2)
Patients seeking non-covered herbal prescriptions for diseases prevention and health management 189(28.5)
Patients seeking non-covered herbal prescriptions for cosmetic purposes or diet 221(33.4)
Others 7(1.1)

Preparations essential for Remote Treatment in the Korean medicine field Development of remote treatment manuals or guidelines 262(39.6)
Development of clinical guidelines to address In-depth Examinations 34(5.1)
Establishment of facilities and acquisition of equipment necessary for remote treatment 45(6.8)
Education for Korean medicine doctors on remote treatment 40(6.0)
Development of a certified platform by the Association of Korean medicine 86(13.0)
Development of diagnostic technologies in Korean medicine applicable to remote treatment 34(5.1)
Nationwide promotion of remote treatment in Korean medicine 91(13.7)
Expansion of insurance coverage for prescribable herbal medicines 45(6.8)
Utilization and coverage expansion of diagnostic tests for the management of chronic diseases, such as blood test and urine test 20(3.0)
Table 5
Acceptance of remote treatment
(N=662, Multiple Response)

Classification N(%) Total
Preparedness for Remote Treatment in the Korean medicine field Not well prepared 78(11.8) 662(100.0)
Not prepared 268(40.5)
Moderate 231(34.9)
Well prepared 63(9.5)
Very well prepared 22(3.30)
Competitiveness of Korean medicine in Remote Treatment Very uncompetitive 27(4.1) 662(100.0)
Uncompetitive 82(12.4)
Neutral 224(33.8)
Competitive 245(37.0)
Very competitive 84(12.7)
Reasons for perceiving a lack of competitiveness High probability of misdiagnosis due to limitations such as pulse and palpation 50(17.3) 291(100.0)
Constraints of traditional Korean medicine focused on face-to-face procedures like acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, etc. 78(27.0)
Patient concentration in certain medical institutions 35(12.1)
Limited awareness among patients about Remote Treatment services in Korean medicine 41(14.2)
Perceived limitations in Korean medicine treatments for chronic diseases outlined by the government 53(18.3)
Difficulties in establishing collaborative systems between medical institutions for remote consultations 32(11.1)
Other reasons 2(0.7)
Reasons for perceiving competitiveness Increased patient satisfaction due to sufficient counseling compared to Western medicine 215(25.2) 859(100.0)
Regular management after herbal medication 223(26.1)
Strengths of Korean medicine treatment in sensitive conditions such as diet and gynecological diseases 172(20.1)
Resolution of medical blind spots 149(17.4)
Influx of new patients 95(11.1)
Other reasons 5(0.6)
Acceptance levels regarding Remote Treatment Extremely negative (Absolutely unacceptable) 12(1.8) 662(100.0)
Somewhat negative (Only acceptable in unavoidable situations such as infectious diseases) 63(9.5)
Neutral 42(6.3)
Somewhat positive (Worth trying) 312(47.1)
Extremely positive (Proactive and comprehensive acceptance is necessary) 233(35.2)
Table 6
Intention to participate according to the experience of remote treatment (N=662)
Variables Intention to Participate Total P-value

Yes No
Participation Experience Yes 478(94.8) 25(5.2) 504(100.0) <0.001*
No 134(84.8) 24(15.2) 158(100.0)

Total 612(92.4) 50(7.6) 662(100.0)

† Statistically significant with p<.01, Result of chi-square test, Data are presented with frequency(ratio)

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