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Original Research

Appropriateness of task of public health doctors in South Korea

AUTHORS

Dae Hyun Lee1 MD, Public Health Doctor *

Mid-eum Moon2 MD, Public Health Doctor

Youngdoo Go3 MD, Public Health Doctor

Zihyun Song4 MD, Public Health Doctor

Jemin Kim5 MD, Public Health Doctor

Cheolsu Kim6 MD, Public Health Doctor

Kyung Hwa Seo7 PhD, Researcher

Seokyoung Kim8 MS, Researcher

Jaerim Kim9 MD, Public Health Doctor

AFFILIATIONS

1 Korean Association of Public Health Doctors and Subuk Public Health Clinic Branch, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul, South Korea. Present address: Department of Internal Medicine, University of South Florida, FL, USA

2 Korean Association of Public Health Doctor and Dudong Public Health Clinic Branch, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul, South Korea

3 Korean Association of Public Health Doctor and Doan Public Health Clinic Branch, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul, South Korea. Present address: Department of Medicine, Joongang University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea

4, 9 Korean Association of Public Health Doctor and Changsu Public Health Clinic Branch, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul, South Korea. Present address: Yonsei Severance Hospital, Seoul, South Korea

5 Korean Association of Public Health Doctor and Haseoung Public Health Clinic Branch, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul, South Korea

6 Korean Association of Public Health Doctor and Gyeongju-si Public Health Clinic Branch, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul, South Korea

7, 8 Research Institute of Healthcare Policy, Korean Medical Association, Seoul, South Korea

ACCEPTED: 8 June 2018


early abstract:

Public health doctors (PHD) in South Korea serve the medically underserved region of South Korea as part of national service duty, but their number is declining in recent years (due to change in medical education system). Therefore, there is an increasing need to deploy public health doctors efficiently. Consisting of 2138 medical doctors of different specialties, they serve as both primary care physician and public health expert. The purpose of this study is to investigate the appropriateness of tasks of PHDs in South Korea. Of the 2138 PHDs, 1015 participated in the survey. Most PHDs perform primary care and vaccination duties (96.8% and 85.8%). PHDs evaluated the appropriateness of task and number of PHDs as above midpoint of Likert 5-point scale (3.5±1.1 and 3.4±1.1). Also, majority of offices were located within 5km from private clinics and hospitals (72.7% and 45.2%). Public health doctors on remote islands highly value the validity and deployment needs of public health doctors, while public health doctors in close proximity to private clinics or hospitals have a low score. This suggests that there is a need to more efficiently deploy the PHD depending on the local characteristics and the presence or absence of nearby private medical clinics and hospitals.