Ubiquitous health in Korea: progress, barriers, and prospects

Healthc Inform Res. 2012 Dec;18(4):242-51. doi: 10.4258/hir.2012.18.4.242. Epub 2012 Dec 31.


Objectives: Korea has one of the most advanced information technology (IT) infrastructures in the world, and the application of IT in health systems is rapidly progressing from computerization to information systems, ubiquitous systems, and smart systems. This study aims to analyze Korean environments in regards to the development of their u-Health industry and propose directions for u-Healthcare services based on this analysis.

Methods: This paper reviews the background, progress history, and current status of u-Health in Korea, and suggests strategies for the u-Health industry based on an analysis of its barriers and obstacles.

Results: When u-Health was introduced to Koreans, their policies and approaches focused mainly on environmental factors, yet these efforts have not progressed further to impact the u-Healthcare service industry itself. To develop the u-Healthcare industry, four points need to be considered: the development and support of the practical service model, institutional support, support of core technology and industry, and the institutionalization of health management service.

Conclusions: Korea is at a strategic point to start building u-Healthcare service delivery models. u-Healthcare is a healthcare service that provides added value through u-Health environments. By identifying critical success factors in u-Healthcare, we can strengthen the u-Health industry and implement policies to coordinate our efforts in the process of value chains to which we belong.

Keywords: Consumer Health Information; Health Information Management; Mobile Health; Telecommunications; Wireless Technology.