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Korean health insurance system takes root in MEHIRA exports drug utilization review and other systems to Bahrain
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2017.03.06 06:00
  • Updated 2017.03.06 23:34
  • comments 0

Korea has exported its health insurance system to Bahrain, becoming the first country in the world to apply its medical system to a foreign nation

Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) signed a contract with Bahrain’s Supreme Council of Health in Manama, Bahrain, Monday, to help establish the health insurance system in the Middle East country, the Korean state agency said.

Specifically, HIRA will export health insurance review and assessment system, expense management system, and drug utilization review (DUR) system, at a price of 15.5 billion won ($13.5 million). The contract signing came after a year of negotiations to deepen cooperative ties between the two organizations, the agency said in a press release.

HIRA President Sohn Myong-sei (right) and Bahrain SCH Chairman Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa (left) pose for photographers after they sign a contract to export Korea's health insurance system to the Middle East country, on Monday.

Bahrain is providing free medical services with government budget, and its people show one of the highest levels of health among Middle East countries.

The country’s infant mortality rate, for instance, remains at 5.2 per 1,000 babies, which is very low compared with the Middle East average of 42.5 babies, and its life expectancy also reaches 77 years, far higher than the average of 68 years in the region.

The country’s rapid population growth rate, obesity rate, and smoking rate, however, have increased the occurrences of non-infectious diseases pushing up its national medical expenses and expanding fiscal burdens to finance its healthcare services.

The Bahraini government has decided to reform its healthcare system to stabilize its healthcare financing and chosen HIRA as its partner. HIRA is the primary business partner for the “Bahrain SEHATI-ICT project.”

HIRA will help establish National Health Insurance Information System (NHIIS), DUR, and Smart Utilization of NEMR System (SUN) from April to November 2019. The agency expects to finish the establishment of these systems in 26 months and stabilize the established systems in additional six months.

NHIIS handles healthcare resources such as workforce, facilities, and equipment, determines and notifies wage levels and screening costs, and manages subjects and criteria of monitoring. DUR controls the distribution track of medicine, drug inventory, the history of returned medicine as well as checks safety in the stages of medical prescription and diagnosis. SUN provides services to analyze the expenditure of medical fees, quality of medical services, and safety information for patients.

“We hope the contract signing will allow Korea to show the superiority of its health insurance system to the world, and also expect Korean health insurance system will serve as the international standard system,” HIRA said in the press release. “The export of our system, including DUR, will act as a catalyst to expand it to the Middle East countries including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.”


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