Curing Cancer Must Start with the Patient

‘Life Beyond Cancer.’ On October 5, the Humanitas Cancer Hospital (HCH), founded on the fundamental introspection on humankind, will open its doors to focus on recovering the patient’s human decency, or , that has been ravaged by the plight of cancer. To hear the story behind the HCH, we met with Dr. Sang-sol Jeong who is in charge of the preparations leading up to the opening of the hospital.

Dr. Jeong explained his reason for getting behind this hospital and said, “In human society, the basis of all activities must be respect for others. Patients also deserve respect from their physicians. I have worked hard to establish ‘medical democracy’ and a culture of ‘caring for the patients.’ I believed that the HCH would be able to put those principles into action."

“Healthcare institutions must embrace cancer patients who suffer from loneliness and depression” The ‘people’ comes first to the Kyung Hee Humanitas Cancer Hospital. As an extension of this commitment, it has formulated a cancer-focused treatment model with a multi-disciplinary team of precision medicine and Korean medicine while concentrating on the research on the human immune system and treatment for cancer. That effort has introduced a new program that combines treatment and healing.

The healing program is a recovery process that restores the balance and harmony between the body and the mind by combining Kyung Heeco excellence in academic competency with clinical treatment options. The healing program, which fuses liberal arts and classical arts with physical education, has been in operation at Kyung Hee University Medical Center (KHUMC) since 2013; hence, the effectiveness of the model has been clinically demonstrated. “Following surgery, cancer patients often suffer from loneliness and depression, and these psychological aftermaths of the illness must be treated as part of the healing process. Healthcare institutions must take these patients into their arms,” Dr. Jeong urges.

personal data must be returned to the patients;” proposing to use blockchain At the root of Dr. Jeong’s passion for ‘medical democracy’ and a culture that ‘looks out for its patients’ also lies ‘people.’ Medical democracy for him is giving back to the patients the information and decision-making rights.

Claiming that ‘medical data should be given back to the patients,’ Dr. Jeong proposed the use of blockchain technology. Contrary to a system that stores all data in a centralized server, blockchain uses the network to distribute all records and management authority, as a means to achieve data security. Dr. Jeong painted his vision of blockchain applied in medicine and said, “When blockchain is applied to medicine, patients will be able to recover their right to personal medical data, allowing patient-centered medicine and greater public value of medicine.”

Dr. Jeong is convinced that his life-long dream of building a medical system where the weak are no longer isolated, lonely patients are embraced, and patients are given the authority will be realized at the Humanitas Cancer Hospital.

Dr. Jeong continued to explain, “It has been proven that cancer patients need multifaceted treatments beside surgery. This is cannot be achieved by the hospital and doctors alone; we must elicit participation from various areas and levels of the healthcare organization. Fortunately, the Humanitas Cancer Hospital is already doing all of this.”

“Many people who shared these values about cancer treatment centers participated in the effort to open this hospital. The healing program could not have been possible without the participation of not only medical organizations, but also universities, graduate programs, the cyber university, and many outside professionals. I witnessed hope in the voluntary engagement of so many people.”

Dr. Jeong’s goal is clear. It is to build a patient-centered Humanitas Cancer Hospital that is assessed by patients as one that respects and looks out for its patients. But it is not an easy goal, because institution-centered norms and practices must be transformed into a patient-centered culture. Jeong expressed his resolve: “Together with the hospital staff, we will continue to build a patient-focused institution.”