South Korean telco ventures into digital healthcare market

digital healthcare market

South Korea is coping with huge medical costs due to its rapidly aging population and an increased rate of chronic disease. This factor combined with its robust communications technology infrastructure and its tech-savvy population, makes Korea an attractive market for any digital healthcare technology.

While Korea’s increasing demand for digital healthcare created opportunities for global players, South Korea’s largest telecoms company has decided to enter the digital healthcare market.

KT – formerly known as Korea Telecom – is planning to work with Kazakhstan-based medical centre Medical Partners Korea to launch an information technology-based epidemic control system. One center will be launched in Kazakhstan this year and another in Russia next year.

The telco has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NGeneBio, a local gene sequencing company, to create personalized products based on gene data analysis.

NGeneBio will utilize KT’s AI, big data and cloud solutions, as well as having the companies working together on personalized diet and exercise programmes based on genomic data.

Genorhythm is NGeneBio’s existing service that analyses fat, blood sugar and blood pressure. It will further develop this platform with KT’s capacity for big data analysis.

NGeneBio is an inhouse project from KT founded in 2014. After establishing a molecular laboratory in 2015, the company received approval for genetic testing the following year. Many products were created by the company including the BRCAaccuTest™ to test for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that cause breast and ovarian cancer, and HLAaccuTest™, an in vitro diagnostic medical device that can identify harmful antigens.

The role of AI in medical care has been a huge focal point amid the pandemic. Based on the growing number of patients in need of access to clinician-delivered services, AI-based medical equipment and telemedicine represent promising opportunities in the future.