Digital Health and Medtech in South Korea and Japan 2019

The Digital Health and Medtech Expert Mission travelled to South Korea and Japan in March 2019. The findings and insights gathered from visiting Seoul and Tokyo over one week are shared in the report below.


South Korea and Japan Digital Health and Medtech 2019


South Korea and Japan


Digital Health and Medtech

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Abstract from outcome report:

The move to a single national healthcare insurance system was made in early 2000, when the original system operated through a number of separate insurance systems was slowly merged, to create a single provider, where effectively there is access to the entire Korean population data. Although the system is publicly funded, there is a co-payment system where patients pay upwards of 20% for inpatient costs and outpatient costs could be as high as 60% depending on the provider. The health insurance system also requires people to have regular medical check-ups, depending on the type of work and work risk environment, leading to either biennial or biannual. This check-up includes a general consultation, blood pressure, lab test (including serum glucose, lipid profiles, renal and liver function and urine analysis), eye and oral examination and chest x-rays. As part of the medical record, alcohol, smoking and exercise habits are collected by standardised self-reporting questionnaires. A national lung screening programme is currently being evaluated.

South Korea suffers from similar mortality issues as western countries with malignant neoplasm (cancer), heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases and pneumonia as the top five conditions. Additionally, self-harm (suicide) comes in sixth followed by diabetes, as areas of concern. The major incidents of cancer are thyroid, stomach, large intestine, lung, liver and breast. Long term challenges for the country are an ageing population, a declining birth rate and pressure placed on social services. The healthcare system in Korea is fragmented and is not centred on senior-friendly care, and co-morbidity complications require a more integrated medical and social care system.

About Global Expert Missions

The Global Expert Missions (GEM) programme is funded by Innovate UK and designed to build international collaborations with governments, societies, enterprises, institutions, and people from every corner of the globe. With global challenges requiring international perspectives, the programme aims to support the UK government’s ambition to be the international partner of choice and a global hub for innovation by 2035.


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