In the 19th century, the average life expectancy of humans was only 42 years. However, the average life expectancy has rapidly increased in the 20th century as humans gained nutritional advancement as well as public health and medical technology improved. According to the report released by Korean Statistical Information Service, in 2016, the life expectancy at birth for males marked 79.3 years and 85.4 for females. Compared to a decade ago, These numbers have risen by 3.9 years and 3.3 years, respectively. However, unlike the increased life expectancy, the period of life in healthy state has decreased. For the babies born in 2016, the healthy period is 64.7 years for male and 64.2 for female, and the opposite disease periods are 14.5 years and 20.2 years for male and female, respectively, which represent 2.1 years and 2.5 years rise from 2012. The Life expectancy has improved rapidly from the past, yet as the period without healthiness has increased, suffering from various chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, quality of life of senior citizens is rather declining.
The Future of ‘Bio-Healthcare’ in the Era of Fourth Industrial Revolution
It is the eternal goal of the medical community to find a cure for illnesses, but more recently it has come to include prevention of diseases by providing proper medical information. In the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, some keywords related to health and medical treatment are ‘preventionfocused,’ ‘customized precision medical treatment,’ and ‘advanced medical information.’ The paradigm in medicine is shifting from cure-focused treatment to prevention and management of diseases. World governments and medical professionals are also weighing in on this change. Experts also highlight that more active treatments to lower the prevalence of diseases should be developed in order to increase the quality of life and lower the burden of social medical expenditure.
Preventive Medical Services
Preventive medical service is a medical field which focuses on methodology and application to protect, maintain and enhance human health based on science. Recently, its importance is increasing due to the spread of chronic diseases in today’s aging society. Preventive medical service is playing an important role in a complex social phenomenon related to the current medical service, genetic research, and the development of various fields including medical informatics, in addition to various research on the propriety of health and medical services for prevention and gene-environment interaction. Preventive medical service is a medical service that is provided before the outbreak of a disease. Therefore, the subject of this medical treatment is not a patient but an ordinary person. It can be conducted on an individual or a group depending on whether the target is indiscriminate or specific. Experts stress that – to lower patients’ onset rate of diseases, increase their quality of life, and to lighten the burden of social medical expenses – more active treatments as well as a reinforced system of preventing and managing diseases for preventive medical services are necessary.
Cautions for Clinical Preventive Medicine
For the improvement of such preventive medical fields, we need scientific basis of clinical results of preventive medical services. Applying immediately to humans before scientifically validating new preventive medical services’ safety and effectiveness can cause a damage with side effects. It would also cause an enormous economic damage due to high cost. Therefore, scientific assessments of safety and effectiveness of not only the preventive medical services that are newly being invented, but also every preventive medical service that is currently widely applied are extremely important. Medical institutions around the world are trying to create new scientific grounds by systematic scientific studies acquiring data of such clinical preventive medical services. The advancement of this field’s medical information will play a vital role that leads the bio-healthcare industry in the future.
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