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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 147408, 9 pages
Research Article

The Determinants of Choosing Traditional Korean Medicine or Conventional Medicine: Findings from the Korea Health Panel

1International Institute of Health, No. 402, 30 Digital-ro 32-gil, Guro-gu, Seoul 152-777, Republic of Korea
2Department of Public Health, Daegu Haany University, 1 Haanydaero, Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 712-715, Republic of Korea
3Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine and Catholic Institute for Healthcare Management, The Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 137-701, Republic of Korea

Received 29 March 2015; Accepted 2 June 2015

Academic Editor: Karen J. Sherman

Copyright © 2015 Ji Heon Choi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study is to identify key factors that determine a person’s decision to seek treatment from traditional Korean medicine (TKM) instead of conventional medicine through analysis of nationally representative data from Korea, where a dual healthcare system exists. The analysis is based on episodic data from the 2008 and 2009 Korea Health Panel. The main dependent variable is the selection between TKM and conventional medicine. We used a multiple logistic regression model to identify the determinants of TKM while controlling for clustered error. Approximately 5% of all doctor’s visits were characterized as TKM services. Urban residents were 1.441 times more likely to use TKM than rural residents . The probability of choosing TKM over conventional medicine for a range of conditions compared to the reference condition (gastrointestinal disease) was as follows: circulatory system diseases (OR 5.267, ), nervous system diseases (OR 12.054, ), musculoskeletal system diseases (OR 20.579, ), and neoplasms (OR 0.209, ). Certain diseases are significantly more likely to be treated by TKM than by conventional medicine. This suggests that many people view TKM as being additionally effective for specific diseases, particularly musculoskeletal disorders.