Korea to facilitate widened use of medical records for scientific purposes

2020.01.16 09:14:08 | 2020.01.16 09:17:30

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The Korean government announced on Wednesday it will expand the use of patient data and allow for the recycling of discarded human fat for drug development and other scientific purposes to foster a research environment for life science and healthcare.

The measures are among the 15 deregulation targets in four areas the government is focusing on after the National Assembly passed a revision bill on the Personal Information Protection Act last week to enable the use of anonymized medical records by a third-party.

Under the deregulation plan, the government will provide a guideline for the widened use of medical records and build five healthcare data centers and collect health information from up to 1 million people to support the development of the bio-health industry.

The five proposed healthcare data centers are Health and Medical Big Data Center, Korea National Institute of Health’s Genome Center, Data-centered Hospital Support Center, Artificial Intelligence Drug Development Center, and Skin-Genome Analysis Center., and this classification was made to improve data management efficiency. The centers will be connected in the future to facilitate cross-functional cooperation.

Human fat, which is currently categorized as medical waste, is prohibited from recycling, but the government said it will revise the Waste Control Act to allow discarded fat to be reused for drug development. The government will also support the use of new types of human-derived resources such as microbiomes and organoids to boost scientific research. The government will provide a set of deliberation guidelines from the institutional ethics board to facilitate the use of biological resources.

The government will also foster the medical device industry by setting up a new approval item for virtual reality and augmented reality-based medical devices, while providing a priority review to innovative medical devices with new convergence technology such as AI-based imaging systems.

The number of items for direct-to-consumer genetic testing services will increase from 12 to 56 in the wellness areas that include disease prevention and health management. The government will also seek to unify the certification system for genetic testing, which is currently provided by multiple institutions.

By By Pulse

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