The Korean government is moving ahead with the commercialization of telemedicine systems using information technology and gene information, in spite of opposition from health workers.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced its New Healthcare Market Creation Strategies on November 12 at the Korea Technology Center located in Yeoksam-dong, Seoul.
The purpose is to contribute to the national drive for creative economy and job creation by promoting the growth of the healthcare market. The strategies are based on the medical efficacy and economic feasibility of telemedicine for patients with chronic ailments such as diabetes, hypertension and metabolic syndrome that have been proven through the ministry’s three year-long test services.
The ministry explained that the treatment effect was higher when the patients were administered with drugs while being provided with healthcare information and assistance for self-diagnosis through IT devices. It added that the permission of telemedicine would lead to the establishment of between 737 and 884 institutions concerned nationwide, along with at least 8,000 new jobs.
Under the circumstances, the ministry is planning to accelerate the commercialization of medical services utilizing genetic information and the IT-based u-Health model while growing them into export products.
At the same time, it is going to launch the Inter-ministerial Post Genome Project in conjunction with the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries to set up a patient-customized medical market. A total of 528.8 billion won (US$492.9 million) is scheduled to be invested in it during the eight years from 2014.