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Ann Occup Environ Med. 2018 Feb 1;30:8. doi: 10.1186/s40557-018-0214-3. eCollection 2018.

Perceptions regarding utilization of meteorological information in healthcare in Korea: a qualitative study.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Ulsan University Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan, Republic of Korea.
2Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
3Environmental Health Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan, Republic of Korea.
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Ulsan University Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 877 Bangeojinsunhwan-doro, Dong-gu, Ulsan, 44033 Republic of Korea.
5Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan, Republic of Korea.



Health forecasting has been used in an attempt to provide timely and tailored meteorological information to patients and healthcare providers so that they might take appropriate actions to mitigate health risks and manage healthcare-related needs. This study examined the in-depth perceptions of healthcare providers and the general public regarding the utilization of meteorological information in the healthcare system in Korea.


The COREQ (Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research) checklist was applied to this study. We conducted three focus group discussions in accordance with semi-structured guidelines developed to deal with various aspects of the utilization of meteorological information in healthcare settings. The verbatim transcriptions and field notes were analyzed according to content analysis.


Six physicians, four nurses, three emergency medical technicians, and seven members of the general public participated in the focus group discussions. There were some individual discrepancies among most participants regarding the health effects of climate change. Although several physician participants felt that meteorological information utilization is not a prime concern during patient care, most of the general public participants believed that it should be used in the patient care process. The provision of meteorological information to patients undergoing care is expected to not only improve the effective management of climate-sensitive diseases, but also boost rapport between healthcare providers and patients.


More attempts should be made to provide meteorological information to groups vulnerable to climate change, and the effects of this information should be evaluated in terms of effectiveness and inequality. The findings of this study will be helpful in countries and institutions trying to introduce health forecasting services.


Focus groups; Meteorological concepts; Republic of Korea

Conflict of interest statement

This study was approved by the institutional review board of UUH (2016–10-011). Prior to enrollment, we explained the objectives and procedures of this study to the participants and obtained informed consent from them.We also obtained consent to publish from the participants.The authors declare that they have no competing interests.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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