Chosun University Hospital, a private university hospital in the southwestern city of Gwangju in South Korea, is setting up a virtual clinic in the metaverse.
The hospital recently signed a memorandum of understanding with local health tech startup Deltoid for market development and business expansion.
Together, they will launch a metaverse clinic where patients both local and abroad can access online medical services. The site will also conduct educational programmes for the hospital’s foreign medical staff.
WHY IT MATTERS
The pandemic has also impacted South Korea’s medical tourism industry, which saw a sharp decline in foreign medical tourists to around 117,000 in 2020 from almost 500,000 in 2019, based on data from Statista.
In a statement, Chosun said it hopes to attract foreign patients and help revive Gwangju’s medical tourism by offering virtual healthcare services in the metaverse, a network of three-dimensional virtual worlds.
THE LARGER TREND
Medical metaverse has been a growing topic in conversations among health professionals in South Korea. Early this year, a group of over 200 South Korean medical experts led by professors from the Seoul National University College of Medicine launched a study group that will focus on researching ways to harness the metaverse for the prevention, treatment and management of diseases.
Aside from South Korea, other healthcare providers, hospitals and health technology developers in Asia-Pacific are launching their services in the metaverse. In late June, the Yashoda Hospitals in India became the first healthcare group in the country to enter the metaverse.
Singaporean healthcare company Meta Health announced in February that it is joining the metaverse clinic of Aimedis, a Netherlands-based medical tech company. It will embed its telemedicine platform 5Digital into the virtual clinic where consultation notes and health data from IoT devices can be stored via blockchain.
Meanwhile, Indian fitness company GOQii in March raised $10 million in funding to support its development of a health metaverse ecosystem which incentivises users for their healthy behaviours and for completing gamified fitness tasks.