Korea: Prioritising AI in Healthcare Innovation

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The South Korean government has designated the promotion of artificial intelligence (AI)-based drug development and healthcare innovation as a national priority. This new policy aims to capitalise on Korea’s advanced technologies to drive the nation’s economic growth as well as better care for patients at home and abroad.

 

For the past 12 months, the South Korean presidential committee has operated a ‘Healthcare Special Committee’ which is comprised of both government officials as well as civilian experts. In December 2018, this special committee finalized the ‘Strategies for Healthcare Advancement based on the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ – which aims to put AI at the forefront of the nation’s health strategy, including in the development of new medicines, according to a recent report in Korean Biomedical Review.

 

With the vision of “making a society where everyone is healthy with Korean technologies leading the global market,” the new strategy straddles several different strands of healthcare and the life sciences. It encompasses healthcare big data production and operation of a pilot management system, new drug development using AI, the formation of a smart clinical trial system, the development of smart fusion medical devices and the creation of an innovation ecosystem linking regional bio-health clusters.

 

The country’s Health and Welfare Minister, Park Neung-hoo, said, “The healthcare industry is going through a sea change due to unprecedented technologies and new services, along with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”


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