GIMHAE, March 16 (Korea Bizwire) — From regular checkups to medical counseling, scores of municipal governments across South Korea are adopting mobile health technology in a bid to improve public health.
The city government of Gimhae is among the 70 local governing bodies that have adopted a mobile health center system as part of a joint initiative with the Ministry of Health and the Korea Health Promotion Foundation.
Local residents have been receptive to the new service, which consists of a smartphone app offering health checkups, medical analysis and counseling to anyone in the community aged between 20 and 50.
Participants can keep a close eye on their health with a pedometer watch, which is provided free of charge by the local government to encourage residents to exercise regularly.
Kim, a 49-year old resident of Gimhae, approves of the health initiative.
“I like that I can check my calorie intake and daily physical activity level. I was able to improve my health significantly by keeping focused on taking care of my body,” Kim said.
The trial service last year received warm reception, with an approval rating of 89.8 out of 100.
According to local health center official Bae Joo-hyun, the program was particularly popular among workers who get a regular health checkup only once a year and those who don’t exercise often.
Behind the popular program is a team of health experts consisting of a doctor, a health coordinator, a nutritionist, and a fitness expert, who offer advice and expertise to local residents who have been found to have high blood pressure, a large waistline and high levels of neutral fat and cholesterol.
“A portable smartphone and a pedometer watch wrapped around the wrist allow people to take care of their health in an affordable way, which is essentially the same as having your own smart doctor in life. We strongly recommend (the initiative) to those with health risks,” said Gang Sun-hee, a senior official at the local health center in Gimhae.
The health program has been trialed by 30 local governments over the past two years, before being reintroduced this year, and application for the program is open for 300 local residents in Gimhae City until May on a first come, first served basis.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)