Use the collaboration momentumSouth Korean health minister Chin Young and his Saudi Arabian counterpart Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabiah have signed a landmark deal on broad-scale cooperation in heath care that will likely serve as a boon to the local medical supply industry.
Under the so-called “Twinning Project,” the two countries will cooperate in six areas. South Korea will assist Saudi Arabia in building and operating hospitals, educating and training medical professionals and research and development - practically the entire medical system and services know-how to help the Middle Eastern country improve health care services and standards.
Korea will be exporting software such as training and consulting programs as well as billing fees for health insurance, integrated computer filing and management of clinics. It will be the country’s first total export of medical and health care technology.
It is also meaningful that the project will be tested in King Fahd Medical City, which Hyundai Engineering and Construction built in 1993. South Korea would be introducing technology-intensive highly value-added medical services in the Middle East where South Korea first went to earn money through labor-intensive construction contracts.
Major Korean hospitals participate in the program in their specialized fields. Gacheon University Gil Medical Center assists in the brain imaging center, Samsung Medical Center in the neuroscience research center, Korea Cancer Center Hospital in the radiation therapy center and Seoul National University in the cardiac science center. Korean medical facilities and professionals joined forces to make inroads overseas.
Information technology, software and electronics businesses, as well as other service sectors, should use the momentum of collaboration among the government, medical centers and industry to converge and add new value to medical technology exports.
In order to use the opportunity to upgrade our medical and services sector, the content of exports in services needs to be developed beyond a mere transfer of technology.
Saudi Arabia is rooted in a Muslim culture that is entirely different from ours. Korean professionals should pay special attention to details in training so that they do not cause a cultural clash during the process. Experts in regional, culture, religion, history and communications skills should be involved in the project to keep things copacetic.