My Own Medical Service
Zero to Infinity
Zero health care to Smart Healthcare in two generations. At the end of the Korean war in 1953, Korea was impoverished country with virtually no access to healthcare. Today, modern hospitals and healthcare facilities have been established in every corner of the country and all citizens are protected by a national insurance scheme. Patients come from overseas for high quality, affordable treatment. The healthcare industry in 2017 was US$ 6.4 billion with a growth rate at a constant 16%.
The medical industry is growing driven by three primary factors; an aging population, universally available healthcare through the National Health Insurance Service and concern for future pandemics.
One of Korea’s concerns for the future is the aging population. Korea Statistic announced with the current growth rate, by 2045, Korea will have the highest population over 65. As the population ages, the need for advanced and sufficient medical supply will be a crucial issue.
The National Health Insurance Service provides affordable medical service for all. As the health service is cheap, it provides the public with access to more medical services leading to more use of medical supplies and services. There is a joke that some seniors visit the hospital for check-ups every few days just to talk with someone.
We have witnessed COVID 19 and how it has affected our daily lives. As the world becomes more crowded, advanced, and developed, we cannot underestimate the possibility of another crisis. The need for medical supplies and a system to prevent other infections requires the medical industry to develop. With the development of big data and the many software programs to process it, the medical information field has grown, providing the possibility to customize medical services.
Customized Medical Service
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) announced plans to develop personalized medicine technology in 2016 with information data as a steppingstone. Personalized medicine is defined differently by different countries. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety defined personalized medicine as drug or drug usage considering a person's genotype. However, following changes in the industry, the definition has expanded. A collection of information such as DNA, diagnosis, clinical information, and personal habits are evaluated to customized medical service while increasing the precision of diagnosis and treatment.
To develop Personal Health Records (PHR) which will be the basis of personalized medicine, the government is starting the National Bio Bigdata Demonstration Project,' which will collect DNA and clinical data from over 20,000 individuals to be used for personalized medicine, new medicine and other researches.
Decision Maker for My Health Service
Health care AI is becoming mainstream as it will provide many health decisions when medical bigdata is applied. However, there are several concerns about using this technology.
The first concern is limited data. Most health care data can be collected from health insurance, check-ups status, and individual hospital databases. This information is related to public organizations that have severe restrictions making it hard to collect or distribute data. Moreover, it is difficult to access or use these data due to the Personal Information Protection Act. The second is the possibility of exposing personal information. Individually the data may not be identifiable, but collecting massive data and combining the personal data might reveal individual information.
Even with the rapidly changing industry, developments in the domestic AI sector is still under performing. The slow AI development is due to the limited number of advanced AI developers, which leads to slow growth in AI programming as well as the platforms needed to access and distribute it. Moreover, there are also moral issues regarding the responsibility of AI decisions. When there is a medical error, who will be responsible?
To Infinity and Beyond
Korea already has a standardized medical healthcare system and a stable medical industry. Medical health bigdata will be refined by the AI system exclusive for health care. There are a few obstacles, such as AI development and medical data regulatory issues, but with continuous development, Korea will soon have a health care system that is customized to each patient and provides personalized medicine.
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