We are approaching 6 months of the world coping with this global COVID-19 pandemic.
The highly contagious virus put ordinary people and physicians at risk, and led to a spike in demand for non-contact services, including in the medical field.
The latest initiative announced by the Korean government, called the Digital New Deal, includes plans on this front.
The aim is to digitalize systems, but for the medical field, the government seeks to adopt smart technology to better adjust to a new "normal" and prepare for the possibility of society continuing to live with the virus.
For an in-depth look into all of this, we have Dr. Alice Hyun-kyung Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women's Hospital joining us in the studio today.
Welcome to the program.
With how a respiratory disease turned out to be a global pandemic affecting the mass population, public health systems had to respond quickly. Looking back on the last 6 months how was South Korea's public health system ready to tackle the medical crisis?
Similar notable changes were made back in 2015 with the outbreak of MERS, to be better prepared for "the next outbreak" which hit at a larger scale than perhaps anticipated. What were some of the changes made back then that may have impacted how COVID-19 has been handled?
Using hand sanitizers (after the MERS outbreak) and wearing masks(due to fine dust) is actually something that has been in practice in South Korea for a while. It's not something that people had to suddenly start doing. How have these practices helped in handling the COVID-19 outbreak?
From test centers to emergency wards and designated rooms for COVID-19 patients, medical staff have had their daily operations affected. What are some of the new arrangements inside hospitals that have become semi-permanent with COVID-19 being prolonged?
The coronavirus outbreak has brought our attention to contactless healthcare here in Korea. Recently the South Korean government unveiled its Digital New Deal initiative which aims to achieve digital transformation in all areas, including the medical field. The government aims to build "smart hospitals." Tell us more about this plan and how do you see it panning out in the future?
To actually adopt this sophisticated technology 5G and the Internet of Things into the field, people using it should be ready. Both medical personnel and patients should be familiar with the technology. How ready are these people in using smart technology and telemedicine? Is relevant education or training being carried out within the field?
Throughout the pandemic, we've seen different forms of "robots" for both safety and convenience, from the sanitization of facilities to hotel room-service. How have such robots played a role in the medical field? Do you see their role growing in the future?
What other smart technologies do you think should be adopted in the medical field?