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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jun 7;16(11). pii: E2030. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16112030.

General Public's Perspectives on Medical Doctors and Local Clinics in South Korea.

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Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 03080, Korea.
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul 05505, Korea.
Department of Nursing Science, Shinsung University, Dangjin 31801, Korea.
Health Review and Assessment Committee, Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, Wonju 26465, Korea.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Chungnam National University College of Medicine, Daejeon 35015, Korea.
Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 03080, Korea.
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul 07061, Korea.


As patients in South Korea play the main role in choosing healthcare providers, understanding their attitudes and beliefs toward medical institutions is essential. This study evaluated the public's perspectives on doctors and local clinics. A face-to-face interview survey was conducted with 1000 participants who represent the South Korean adult population. The questionnaire consisted of four domains: personal information; trust level for nine professionals, including doctors; healthcare utilization behavior and attitudes regarding local clinics; and assessment of local clinics. The trust level of the doctor was highest (3.16 out of 4) among nine professionals. 85.3% of the participants frequently visited local clinics because of accessibility. The main reason for visiting hospitals over local clinics was the belief that doctors employed at hospitals would be better qualified. People were generally satisfied with the service of local clinics but wanted more facilities and equipment. Among six attributes of primary care, "first contact" and "accessibility" got higher scores in importance and current performance. Lastly, the participants suggested that improving the quality of doctors was most important for the reinforcement of primary care. Efforts to consider public opinion should be made before establishing healthcare policies for primary care.


South Korea; local clinic; primary care; satisfaction; trust

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