Korea Wins W1 Trillion Healthcare IT Deal in Saudi Arabia

Korea will sell around W1 trillion worth of IT networks to hospitals in Saudi Arabia (US$1=W1,074).

Health Minister Jin Young met with his Saudi counterpart Abdullah Al-Rabeeah in Riyadh on Sunday and agreed to supply the IT systems to 3,000 clinics and 80 state-run hospitals in the oil-rich theocracy.

The networks oversee all data involving hospital management, ranging from patient's records to x-rays and medication. Chung Ho-won at the Health Ministry said the deal would total more than W1 trillion.

The two health ministers also agreed that around 100 Saudi physicians will come to Seoul every year starting next March to train at Seoul National University Hospital, Asan Medical Center, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, Samsung Medical Center and Severance Hospital. The five Korean hospitals will get US$3,000 a month from each Saudi participant.

Health Minister Jin Young (second right) is shown a model of King Fahd Hospital in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Health Minister Jin Young (second right) is shown a model of King Fahd Hospital in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Samsung Medical Center signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia's King Fahd Hospital to set up a brain cell bank and exchange medical expertise there by 2015.

Saudi Arabia is witnessing a medical industry boom after King Abdullah, who began his reign in 2005, invested vast amounts in the medical industry. A total of 29 hospitals were newly built there last year alone, while another 102 are under construction.

The country suffers an obesity epidemic and other widespread health problems that drive thousands of Saudis to seek treatment abroad every month.

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 24, 2013 11:24 KST