Healthcare 4.0 Era for Healthy Korea

The 3rd Master Plan for Fosterage of Health and Medical Service Technology (2023~2027)

4 Major Strategies and 14 Implementation Tasks

☞ Improve the level of Korea’s healthcare and medical service technology compared to the countries with the most advanced technology (79.4% in 2022 → 82.0% in 2027)

☞ Build a system to respond to a health security crisis with vaccines and medicine within 100 days

☞ Expand bio-health exports (USD 24.2 billion in 2022 → USD 44.7 billion in 2027)

For people’s life and health, ▴ Invest in essential medical services, including heart and brain disease treatments, and emergency care ▴ Develop technology to respond to medical conditions without total cures including cancer and dementia, and ▴ Develop patient-tailored treatment technology for rare and incurable diseases

Establish healthcare security that ▴Secures the competencies to develop vaccines and cures for infectious diseases with the provision of fast and accurate diagnosis, ▴ Strengthens the pan-government cooperation system to cope with infectious diseases and disasters, and ▴ Creates an innovative framework for healthcare and medical R&D

Ascend to a bio-health powerhouse by ▴ Introducing data & AI-based digital healthcare innovation, ▴ Enhancing global competitiveness of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and ▴ Improving patient access to advanced regenerative medicine

Create an innovative R&D ecosystem by ▴ Increasing R&D competitiveness to meet the medical demand, ▴ Facilitating commercialization of technology developed by corporations, and ▴ Rationalizing regulations and training professionals

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The government plans to improve Korea’s healthcare and medical technology from a 79.4% level of most advanced countries in 2022 to 82.0% in 2027 and build a system to respond to a healthcare crisis with vaccines and medicine within 100 days. Also, the government plans to expand bio-health exports from USD 24.2 billion in 2022 to USD 44.7 billion in 2027.

On April 19, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (Minister Cho, KyooHong) announced “The 3rd Master Plan for Healthcare and Medical Technology Development” (2023~2027), reviewed and approved at the 3rd deliberation meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology.

The plan*, established every five years under Article 4 of the Health and Medical Service Technology Promotion Act, is a comprehensive government-wide plan to present the direction of the health and medical service technology policy to improve the quality of life and resolve economic and social problems.

* 11 government agencies concerned: Ministry of Health and Welfare; Ministry of Science and ICT; Ministry of the Interior and Safety; Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; Ministry of Environment; Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries; Ministry of SMEs and Startups; Ministry of Food and Drug Safety; Rural Development Administration; and Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency

The 3rd Master Plan for Healthcare and Medical Technology Development is a mid to long-term plan established in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on health and medical service technology. To develop the plan, the government has formed a public-private joint, long-term strategy and planning council of about 50 experts from academic, industry, and research fields. The council held four general meetings and four subcommittee meetings from June to November 2022.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare conducted a nationwide survey in August 2022 and a public hearing in November 2022 to collect public opinions and expectations on health and medical service technology. The 3rd Master Plan for Healthcare and Medical Technology Development was finalized after the Policy Deliberative Committee for Health and Medical Service Technology meeting in December 2022 and the deliberation and resolution of the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology.

Under the vision of “Pioneering the ‘Healthcare 4.0’ Era for a Healthy Korea”, the plan consists of 4 major strategies, 14 core tasks and 46 implementation tasks designed to achieve the goals of improving health and medical service technology, creating a system to respond to a healthcare crisis within 100 days and expanding bio-health exports.

Firstly, the government will increase investments in developing technology to promote people’s health and protect their lives. In particular, government support will prioritize the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardio-cerebrovascular diseases, emergency and severe patients, and the development of technology to increase fertility and lower mortality rates of infants. Technology for the diagnosis and treatment of critical conditions, including cancer and dementia, will also be developed to improve the quality of life for both patients and their families. The plan will find ways to reduce medical costs through comparative research on cost-efficient medical technology, narrow the healthcare gap, and uphold healthcare equality by enhancing welfare technology to assist older people and people with disabilities with self-sufficiency, rehabilitation, and quality care access.

Secondly, the government will invest in research and development to establish health security by developing vaccines and medicines and building an infectious disease response system. It will also work on establishing an R&D system to create a society safe from infectious diseases, including securing technological capability to produce vaccines and essential pharmaceuticals domestically and R&D capabilities to diagnose and develop vaccines and medicines for infectious diseases. Government agencies will collaborate closely to advance the country’s infectious disease response and research system and build an innovative R&D system to solve complex social problems.

Thirdly, the government will expand investments in technology development for Korea to ascend to a bio-health powerhouse. Digital healthcare technology, including data and AI, will be actively used to promote innovation in medical services. The government will strive to secure the core technology necessary to develop new medicines and enhance Korea’s global competitiveness by digitalizing the entire production process. Policies and regulations will be revised to improve access to advanced regenerative medicine and support the development and commercialization of core technology required to produce medical devices.

Fourthly, the government will create an R&D ecosystem designed to promote innovation. Translational and clinical research will be expanded further to respond to unfulfilled medical service demand, and the government will provide consulting and referral support to facilitate the commercialization of R&D results. In addition, the government will amend regulations to encourage private sector-led innovation and provide assistance with securing licenses and permits. It will also continue investing in developing professional personnel, including field experts in the industry, academia, research and medical services, and physician-scientists who can compete for leadership in the bio-health sector.

Minister Cho KyooHong said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on the importance of healthcare and medical service technology as an industry and its role in protecting people from emerging health risks. The government will concentrate its policy-making efforts and resources on accelerating healthcare and medical R&D to generate diverse and creative ideas that protect people’s safety and health while establishing a solid foundation on which the bio-health industry can advance”.

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