How government policies will drive South Korea’s robotic surgery market

How government policies will drive South Korea’s robotic surgery market

Digital technology is emerging as a long-term driver of healthcare industry development in South Korea. The post-pandemic Korean New Deal announced by the government will pour more than US$130bn into economic development by 2025. This will cover the Digital New Deal where digital-driven healthcare, such as the use of robotics in surgery is a key area of focus. 

The Digital New Deal is expected to build on years of government efforts to integrate robotics into healthcare, and eventually push towards wider use of innovative surgical technology and advanced surgical treatments.

The impact of government policies on South Korea’s robotic surgery market   

Direct investment into robotics and its support systems is expected to drive South Korea’s robotic surgery market. Since 2008, the government has been laying the technical, legal and institutional foundations for robotics through its first and second plan under the Intelligent Robot Development and Distribution Promotion Act. In its latest 3rd Basic Plan for 2019-2023, more than US$100m was allocated to invest in the production of 1,500 advanced robots for various industries including healthcare. 

Regulatory support for innovative medical devices is expected to speed up and deepen adoption of medtech innovations such as robotic surgery technology. The Medical Device Industry Act launched in 2020 to encourage the commercialisation of innovative medical devices will fast-track the review process for cutting-edge technologies and provide further exemptions and support. A locally developed laparoscopic surgical robot by South Korean company Meerecompany was the first surgical robot granted fast-track approval.

Some hospitals are already reaping the benefits of adopting new technology. A South Korean orthopaedic hospital chain has 80% of its total knee replacement arthroplasty (TKA) patients opting for robotic procedures just one year into introducing surgical robots at its hospitals.

The future of the robotic surgery market in South Korea

With robotic surgery already gaining awareness and recognition in surgery areas such as orthopaedics, more hospitals and surgeons are expected to adopt robotic surgery techniques and technology to remain competitive.

As government initiatives continue to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure to support the expansion of robotic surgery adoption, there are opportunities for surgical device companies to work with hospitals to meet their needs for robotic surgery technology in areas including financing options, training, and more.

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