SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Korea Bizwire) – The Ministry of Defense is teaming up with the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning for a big data research project that will make use of the medical information of 600,000 South Korean military personnel.
Dubbed the “Military Personnel Medical Information Big Data Study”, the three-year project taking off next year will be used to forecast the outbreak and locations of specific diseases.
At the moment, there are 19 military hospitals and some 1,200 medical detachments across the country, treating on average 2,500 soldiers daily, whose information is stored in the Defense Medical Information System.
According to the defense ministry, some 90 million data records are stored in DEMIS each year, which means there are roughly 1.1 billion total entries that have been accumulated in the system since its launch in 1998. Officials added that the data is of high value, given that most of the information in DEMIS is specific to post-adolescents (aged 19 – 25) that are well-standardized for easy analysis.
Although data stored on DEMIS was put to use in the past, primarily for simple statistics like the monthly number of patients, the ministry now expects the joint big data venture to allow DEMIS data to play a larger role, mostly in improving the medical services provided to military service members.
The research will focus primarily on three aspects: forecasting regional or seasonal epidemics, managing the diseases efficiently by predicting the demand for medicine or medical devices, and generating swift and accurate diagnoses by implementing an AI-based diagnosis system.
“In particular, using data on diseases that tend to recur seasonally will enable us not only to predict them, but also come up with preventive measures,” said the Ministry of Defense, adding that big data will allow officials to better identify the path of a disease’s spread and the region of origin.
Regarding privacy concerns for the soldiers whose data will be utilized, the ministry emphasized that protection of private information will be its foremost priority, and that all private information will be encrypted before being used for analysis.
“Big data analysis will allow for the early diagnosis of diseases, minimize a loss of combat power from the prompt detection of epidemics, and improve the rather negative perception of military hospitals, all of which will help to boost our national security,” said Park Rae-ho, director of informatization planning.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)