[Press Release] 'Flexible Ureteroscopy' Emerges as Dominant Approach in Urology - Medical Professionals and Companies Must Collaborate

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27 Sep 2023
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'Flexible Ureteroscopy' Emerges as Dominant Approach in Urology - Medical Professionals and Companies Must Collaborate



[Medical Times - By In-Bok Lee]

Published Date: September 27, 2023, 05:30 AM


Original article link (In Korean): https://www.medicaltimes.com/Main/News/NewsView.html?ID=1155487&ref=navermo


The trend towards minimally invasive surgery is firmly established, with flexible ureteroscopy gaining prominence in the field of urology. In particular, the development of flexible ureteroscopy technology has brought about a significant paradigm shift.


Flexible ureteroscopy is now widely used in the field of urology, marking a substantial transformation compared to just a decade ago when such cases were rare.


At the forefront of this change is Professor Cho Sung-Yong of the Seoul National University College of Medicine's Department of Urology. Over the past ten years, he has introduced flexible ureteroscopy surgery in South Korea, accumulating numerous cases. Finally, the era he anticipated has arrived.


President Cho Sung-Yong of the AUSET (Asian Urological Society of Endoluminal & Technology) acknowledged that South Korea has taken a leadership position in the field of flexible ureteroscopy. In line with this, he has become the president of AUSET and is leading academic development by organizing the Endoluminal & Technology Symposium (ETS).


So, what does the future hold for flexible ureteroscopy and South Korea's competitiveness? President Cho summarized that there are still many challenges to overcome.


"I started using flexible ureteroscopy in 2011, and it was a lonely journey. There was no place to learn, and no senior to consult with. I had to learn it painstakingly during visits to American and European conferences before bringing it to South Korea. Over the course of more than ten years, I performed surgeries alone, wrote papers alone, and finally, colleagues have emerged," said President Cho.


In fact, since introducing flexible ureteroscopy surgery in South Korea in 2011, he was the first Korean scholar to publish a paper on the subject. This was a rare occurrence not only in Korea but also in Asia. Thus, he established himself as a pioneer by popularizing flexible ureteroscopy surgery in South Korea and delivering over 180 lectures at international conferences as a representative of Korea.


President Cho explained, "Even now, finding someone who can perform flexible ureteroscopy surgery well in Asia is not easy compared to the United States and Europe. So, with the goal of at least creating a network among those who do it well, we established AUSET."


He continued, "As the society gained ground, we held the ETS Symposium in 2018, and now it has become a truly international conference with over 260 participants from overseas. Finally, a foundation has been established in Asia to share experiences, validate new techniques, and devices."


Indeed, the recent ETS Symposium brought together hundreds of experts in flexible ureteroscopy from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other countries.


Now, discussions are underway for collaborations between South Korea and medical societies in Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. An Asian network is being built.


President Cho stated, "Starting as gatherings of scholars connected at international conferences, we have now firmly established an international society and have become a focal point for connecting the Asian network. At least in the field of urological endoscopy, South Korea has secured leadership in Asia."


In line with this, he has set another goal. With the formation of the Asian network, he aims to create opportunities for South Korean medical device companies to enter the global market.


He emphasized that for South Korean medical devices to go global, cooperation with doctors and medical societies is crucial. He evaluated that South Korean companies already have significant technological competitiveness. However, he pointed out that the wrong approach from a strategic perspective has hindered them from spreading their wings properly.


President Cho said, "South Korean companies' technological capabilities have already reached a global level, and the level of medical professionals is already highly regarded worldwide. However, the reason South Korean medical devices have not found their place is that they focused solely on price competitiveness."


He continued, "Global companies are developing their next lineups, while South Korean companies have approached it by gradually improving their products and lowering prices. They must develop products that will come out at least 2 to 3 years ahead, instead of just benchmarking."


The introduction of "URUS," a single-use flexible ureteroscopy developed by Dyne Medical Group, during the recent ETS Symposium was motivated by the same reason. It has technology that is at least two years ahead of existing products in the market, providing an opportunity to enter the market quickly.


President Cho explained, "Dyne Medical Group's single-use flexible ureteroscopy is at least two years ahead in terms of technology compared to the products of leading global companies. By actively encouraging doctors to use such products, we can create a foundation for them to release the next product in two years."


He emphasized that without competitive domestic products, South Korean companies could be overshadowed by global companies, becoming helpless even to the point of not being able to protest against high prices.


He stated, "There are companies with technological capabilities in South Korea, but they have often focused on avoiding critical feedback from medical professionals. This has led to situations where executives even avoid visiting the field."


Furthermore, he pointed out, "If this continues, unnecessary high-tech medical devices that doctors won't use will be produced. From the beginning, a proactive feedback process with medical professionals is necessary, and doctors and medical societies must respond to such efforts in a mutually beneficial cycle."


In the same vein, he advised South Korean companies to actively seek assistance from medical professionals and make efforts to create proper products from the outset. Approaches such as benchmarking global products or relying solely on price competitiveness will not lead to success.


President Cho concluded, "Even if you conduct usability assessments, South Korean companies often avoid critical feedback from medical professionals, and, as a result, many executives do not even come to the field. There is nothing more beneficial than straightforward feedback from medical professionals. This approach must change. We need a self-reinforcing structure where doctors and medical societies respond to such efforts."


The content on this page is intended for healthcare professionals, as well as individuals who are qualified equivalents, such as researchers or regulatory personnel, with an interest in medical devices and related information. Please note that the intended audience may vary based on local laws and regulations governing medical devices and related information.


The content on this page is intended for healthcare professionals, as well as individuals who are qualified equivalents, such as researchers or regulatory personnel, with an interest in medical devices and related information. Please note that the intended audience may vary based on local laws and regulations governing medical devices and related information.

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