One of the mailing lists I’m on circulated a personal observation regarding some of the work that’s being done in East Asia, notably South Korea by Prof. Young Moon Chae. The moderator of the mailing list suggested that “Korea will be a hot bed in telemedicine in the future”. That’s an interesting and bold statement.
At first, my reaction was – Korea? Telemedicine? Why? I know that from general readings of the technology industry, South Korea seems to be emerging as a real-world technology laboratory. Product life cycles are measured in months with new technologies and gadgets being swooped up and adopted almost instantaneously. I’m sorry, but I can’t remember the publication in which I read the above. With large multinational corporations like LG and Samsung to name a few, there seems to be some merit to predictions regarding Korea.
Okay, now back to health. I have to admit that when I think about eHealth, health informatics, or telemedicine/telehealth, South Korea does not come to mind. Actually, when I really think about it, no East Asian country comes to mind. I’m fairly up-to-date in terms of health care systems in most “Western” countries – basically, Canada, the US, UK + Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and even South Africa. Outside of those areas, I realize that I know very little in terms of developments in health, let alone eHealth.
Why is that?
Maybe it’s because I’m primarily an English speaker and am thus dependent upon English media and articles. But, since I’m being trained as a future “global” researcher, I find myself somewhat ashamed that I have absolutely no clue about how the health care systems are organized in Asia, Africa, and even South America.
But, if I think about it, I’m not sure that many other people in my situation would know much more. For example, at the most recent E-Health 2005 Conference, we had speakers share about the “international” experience. Guess from where they came? The United Kingdom (Richard Granger from the NHS) and the United States (Dr. Louise Liang of Kaiser Permanente). I’m not suggesting that the experiences of the UK or the US should not be shared and studied, but are we missing things by not looking at countries like Japan, Korea, and even India?
I think that I will have to be more pro-active in searching for information about non-English speaking countries to really keep up-to-date on what’s happening around the globe. Who knows? We may all be missing out on some fabulous discoveries and advancements because of our North American-European centric view of “global” health care and eHealth.
If anyone has any suggestions or leads on how to find information, I’d really appreciate it. I would be more than willing to share any additional information I find.