The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korea Health Information Service recently helped connect researchers and hospitals as part of its initiative to promote data utilisation for medical research. 

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

In support of the MOHW’s Medical Data Utilisation Project, the KHIS helped onboard organisations to join the initiative, particularly those involved in pharmaceuticals and medical devices. 

In a recent gathering they hosted, four research agreements were signed, including those between:

  • Samjin Pharmaceutical and Samsung Seoul Hospital, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Samsung Changwon Hospital, Hanyang University Hospital; 

  • Hanmi Pharm Co. and Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea Daegu Guro Hospital;

  • Whanin Pharmaceutical Co. and Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Seoul Asan Hospital; 

  • Human Deep Co. and Konyang University Hospital

According to a press statement, the said parties agreed on extending medical data access and on the respective area of research that data will be used.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry, through KHIS, pledged to continue providing assistance to their endeavours. 

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Since 2020, the MOHW has been helping hospitals establish data infrastructure so they can harness their health data for medical research and enhance healthcare service.

Data is necessary for the development of AI and big data technologies. However, medical data in South Korea remains dispersed and locked within institutions; their quality also varies per institution. This makes it difficult for researchers in digital health to collect and utilise them. 

In February, the MOHW launched its data utilisation project to help expedite research and promote collaboration among data-driven institutions across the industry and academia. This project supports digital health researchers by connecting them with hospitals to gain access to medical data. It also offers them expert advice on data processing and on safely utilising data. 

As part of this project, the MOHW recently designated five institutions as centres for the safe utilisation of medical data. These centres were regarded for having physical, technical, and managerial security measures in place to allow researchers to safely utilise public medical and clinical data.

ON THE RECORD

“We expect that these agreements will spur innovative research activities using medical data in the digital healthcare field. We will provide all the necessary support to contribute to the health of patients, their families, and the public,” Eun Seong-ho, director of the Bureau of Advanced Health Technology Policy at the MOHW, commented.

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