Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) and SK Telecom in South Korea, have formed a joint venture to connect patients, medical professionals and patients’ families to medical equipment and healthcare systems anywhere, at anytime.

The 20bn-won ($17.6m) Health Connect JV aims to export information and communication technologies (ICT)-based digital hospitals to overseas markets, develop a self-health management service model and establishment an integrated R&D system for the progress of the Korean healthcare industry.

Health Connect CEO Lee Chul-Hee said that by offering ICT-based healthcare, Health Connect will allow people to prevent diseases and manage their health, which will in turn contribute to reducing social cost and enhancing national welfare. "As the pace of adoption of IT in the medical industry has been slower than that of other industries, the combination of SK Telecom’s top-level ICT, and SNUH’s medical technology and know-how will accelerate the advancement of the Korean healthcare industry, making it strong enough to be exported to the global markets," he added.

SNUH president and CEO Jung Hee-Won said Health Connect will serve as an important cornerstone that offers new direction and opportunities for the healthcare industry by taking Korean medical services to the next level.

SNUH and SK Telecom, which co-developed Mobile EMR (electronic medical record) and medical self-diagnosis applications to achieve the object of ‘smart hospital’, are planning to create a customer-oriented medical environment by installing smart ICT systems within hospitals in 2012.