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Sunday, May 1, 2016

South Korean eHealth Connections


Today's post is about recent random connections between eHealth and South Korea.

I came across a South Korean eHealth company called Health Connect, which is collaboration between one of the largest telecommunication companies SK Telecom and the premier university in South Korea - Seoul University. Seoul University Medical Centre is one of the top NIH funded clinical trial research centres in the world. I like their website design. 


Earlier last year I was contacted by someone at Samsung Medical Centre about eREB (Research Ethics Board) online systems. They developed one of their own in-house systems for online research ethics review and I have a research interest in "in-house" eREB systems development ( having programmed and designed one myself). Too bad my Korean is still not good enough to understand everything on their website in Korean, even though I lived in Korea for almost 4 years, have a Korean family, and still watch Korean TV dramas every day!


I would like to bring to your attention the prevalence of the Fitbit device. I went to a Health & Safety meeting and noticed that half of the people were wearing Fitbits on their wrists. There are activity competitions with teams at work and people are buying more Fitbits because the cheap pedometers reset unexpectedly and data is lost. A year or so ago I read an article that Fitbit was a fading fad, but that just does not seem to currently be the case. Outside of work, I am seeing more and more people wearing and connecting to these devices. Some days they even look ubiquitous.

Now here is the surprising Korean connection - the President and inventor of the Fitbit, James Park, is Korean!


One of the major problems I am having now with my Fitbit device is Ubuntu. The Fitbit dongle and sync tracking isn't supported for Linux or Ubuntu. A program called Galileo was written for free by Benoit Allard. I had it working just fine when I was using Ubuntu 14.0 but then I just upgraded to Ubuntu 16 and it isn't working. I am hopeless trying to share two Fitbits on the Mac and the iPad so I really need to try to get this working again on Ubuntu 16 so I can sync and see my online data. I have started to sink my toes into the murky depths of the Ubuntu Galileo setup, without too much hope. Posted the bug on the Allard Galileo website though.

An interesting direction for Googles' Deepmind appeared in the news & I immediately tweeted it out on my eHealth Twitter feed: "Why does Google want British patients' confidential records"?  

I have blogged about Deepmind before < http://earthspiritendless.blogspot.ca/2014/02/ethics-boards-for-googledeepmind-end-of.html >. Deepmind recently was the technology behind Alphago, an artificial intelligence Go program that beat the best Go player in the world. The best Go player in the world is the South Korean Lee, Seodol, fitting for this slightly Korean blog post. It doesn't surprise me that Deepmind is following the way of IBM and Watson, using AI to find discoveries using big health data.

Well that is the South Korean eHealth Connection for now.