This article aims to introduce the inception and operation of the COVID-19 International Collaborative Research Project, the world's first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) open data project for research, along with its dataset and research method, and to discuss relevant considerations for collaborative research using nationwide real-world data (RWD). COVID-19 has spread across the world since early 2020, becoming a serious global health threat to life, safety, and social and economic activities. However, insufficient RWD from patients was available to help clinicians efficiently diagnose and treat patients with COVID-19, or to provide necessary information to the government for policy-making. Countries that saw a rapid surge of infections had to focus on leveraging medical professionals to treat patients, and the circumstances made it even more difficult to promptly use COVID-19 RWD. Against this backdrop, the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) of Korea decided to open its COVID-19 RWD collected through Korea's universal health insurance program, under the title of the COVID-19 International Collaborative Research Project. The dataset, consisting of 476 508 claim statements from 234 427 patients (7590 confirmed cases) and 18 691 318 claim statements of the same patients for the previous 3 years, was established and hosted on HIRA's in-house server. Researchers who applied to participate in the project uploaded analysis code on the platform prepared by HIRA, and HIRA conducted the analysis and provided outcome values. As of November 2020, analyses have been completed for 129 research projects, which have been published or are in the process of being published in prestigious journals.
- Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service
- Insurance claim review
- Interdisciplinary research
- Universal health insurance