Koreans OK with sharing private medical info for better public health

Lee Han-soo  Published 2020.01.06  16:45  Updated 2020.01.06 17:51


Nearly eight out of 10 Koreans are willing to share their biodata for increasing public health, the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) said in a report released on Monday.

Biodata refers to the medical and health information of an individual stored by a mobile device such as a smartphone.

"Biodata can be used to improve personal health care and improve quality of life while improving public health through rapid disease diagnosis, prevention, and effective treatment," the institute said. "Innovation can also improve the sustainability and efficiency of our national health system."

The use of a smartphone application in managing a person's health has been increasing over the past few years. According to the report, 69.8 percent of the total of 500 people surveyed said they had measured personal health information such as exercise volume, weight, blood pressure, and heart rate using mobile devices. The number is more than four times higher than in a similar survey three years ago, which stood at 16.7 percent.

About half of the respondents also recognized that the measured personal health information is stored and managed on the server of related companies. At the same time, 76.8 percent of the individual's believed that they had ownership over their data.

Although 78 percent said they were willing to share the personal data, the survey also showed that only 8.2 percent of respondents said they trust government policies and social systems. The state-funded think tank explained that the results suggest that health authorities should take measures to prevent the misuse of personal health information or the profits from it.

"According to the report, the social acceptability of the public to the use and share personal health information using biodata is somewhat latent," the institution said. "However, the public also does not trust benefit sharing and transparency of the innovation policy of the government."

Therefore, KIET advised, it is essential to promote technological innovation policies and increase the public's social acceptability by establishing technological innovation policies, and creating a bioeconomic ecosystem based on data and artificial intelligence.

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