South Korea's Ubiquitous Health Program Extends Beyond EHR

by J. Angelo Racoma , | 2011-01-11

Electronic Healthcare Records are but one realm in which IT can improve the workflow and processes in the healthcare industry. While the industry in the US is just starting to standardize and improve on its EHR systems through the HITECH act, other technologically-advanced countries are going beyond simple recording of patient data. In South Korea, the so-called Ubiquitous Health (U-health) initiative will entail continuous monitoring of patient information even while outside of the hospital setting.

The concept of U-health will involve monitoring of a patient's vital statistics virtually anywhere — hence the term "ubiquitous." These can include blood pressure, blood sugar, body weight, cholesterol levels and ECGs. Monitoring can also include physical activity, exercises, eating habits and other everyday habits that might be relevant to one's health.

Big Brother?
U-health might sound like the beginnings of an Orwellian scenario, in which a person will no longer have any privacy due to persistent recording of health-related information even outside of a hospital setting, but the rationale behind U-health seems to be more pragmatic and benevolent. This will help minimize triage times and will help monitor patients with chronic conditions.

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