Analysis of Fiscal Program on Public Health and Medical Data
Published on 16 March 2021
Published by Economic Industrial Program Evaluation Division of the Budget Analysis Department
The recent amendments to the three major data privacy laws provided legal grounds for the “pseudonymized data” concept and the possibility of the amalgamation of data sets. In particular, the usage of public health and medical data is expected to be expanded, enhancing the prospects of facilitating individually-tailored precision medicine, the development of innovative AI-based medical equipment, and the development of new drugs. On the other hand, individual medical data contains sensitive information, increasing the need to reinforce the protection of personal information against leakage. As such, there is increasing socio-economic attention towards the collection and utilization of public health and medical data along with an expansion of government fiscal programs. The major issues and paths toward improvement can be summarized as follows:
First, in order to facilitate the utilization of public health and medical data as well as nurture the bio-health industry, the establishment of a “trans-governmental public health and medical governance“ scheme should be considered. The linkage and coordination between programs, performance analysis, the facilitation of standardization, impact assessment of privacy infringement etc. should be monitored in a consistent manner. In addition, to provide quality medical services to the public and to ensure the development of the healthcare industry, the introduction of an individually-led system for utilizing medical data is needed, along with the exploration of methods for inter-governmental cooperation by developing a mid to long-term plan for the standardization of public health and medical data.
Second, the government needs to provide a secure system to support the utilization of pseudonymized data for organizations lacking data management experts such as smaller medical institutions and small and medium-sized companies based on venture capital, while encouraging medical institutions with large-scale personal medical data to obtain reliable accreditation regarding privacy protections and management. Small-sized medical institutions or small and medium-sized companies based on venture capital face relatively higher entry barriers in utilizing pseudonymized data due to their lack of a professional workforce, whereas higher tier hospitals would appear to have room for improvement in their personal information & information security management systems (ISMS-P), in addition to their information security management systems (ISMS).
Third, the government needs to continue to monitor and complement its support policies to draw actual business outcomes from technological developments such as precision medicine and AI-based innovative medical equipment. In order to facilitate the utilization of public health and medical data, analysis of the actual demand base and data quality management should be continued. Also, the development of innovative medical equipment should be evaluated based on its business outcomes from a medium to long-term perspective while continuing to monitor and complement any institutional improvements by examining whether there are any areas found wanting in the government’s business support systems.