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‘Korea has vast amount of unutilized healthcare data’
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2018.06.22 14:15
  • Updated 2018.06.22 14:15
  • comments 0

Since 2016, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has become a buzzword in Korea with experts remaining divided over whether or not the revolution is in full swing, particularly concerning the use of Big Data.

Lee Myong-hwa, director of National R&D Analysis at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, presents on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and healthcare industry during the AMCHAM Healthcare Innovation Seminar 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seoul Friday.

According to Lee Myong-hwa, director of National R&D Analysis at the Science and Technology Policy Institute and healthcare special subcommittee member on the Presidential Committee on the 4th Industrial Revolution, Korea had lots of healthcare data that are left unused.

Lee pointed out that Korea ranked second concerning crucial health data availability, maturity, and use, but ranked near bottom regarding sharing and accessing health data for statistical and research uses, during her presentation at the AMCHAM Healthcare Innovation Seminar 2018 held at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seoul on Friday.

“We have all these electronic systems, but utilization of data is not well shared, as can be seen as belonging to the bottom group among OECD countries,” Lee said. “This has been consistently pointed out throughout the years and is something we need to work out.”

Increasing the utilization of big data, Lee noted, requires the building of social trust, which is a major barrier to electronic sharing of health data. Other restrictions included heterogeneity of electronic health records, cybersecurity risks, data quality and reliability and lack of infrastructure.

The Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, launched in 2017 to establish national strategies for the fourth industrial revolution, called for creating health data governance in Korea to oversee the problems and solutions toward utilizing big data, according to Lee.

“In Korea, we have a fragmented governance system where many different government agencies are involved in healthcare. This can be both good and bad since different agencies are implementing efforts but we have to bring harmony to these governmental structures. We need health data governance framework,” Lee said.

The framework should include eight key mechanisms of health information system, legal framework, public communication plan, and certification or accreditation of processors, among others.

“The right data governance would maximize benefits and minimize risks and help make informed decisions to use personal health data,” Lee said.

The digital health market in Korea is expected to grow to $14 billion by 2020, jumping from $3 billion in 2014, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Hyundai Research Institute.


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