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Taiwan has a dense network of health care providers, and if people do not regularly seek care at a fixed facility, their medical records end up scattered across several different medical institutions. This can result in a patient taking double doses of the same medicine or medicines which should not be taken together.

This can lead to overdoses or adverse drug interactions. To enhance the public’s medication quality and help physicians and pharmacists safeguard medication safety, the National Health Insurance Administration adopted cloud technology in July 2013 to set up the patient-centered “NHI PharmaCloud System.”

The system enables physicians at contracted medical services providers to search patients’ medication records over the previous three months. The records contain  the sources of the prescriptions and the diagnoses behind the prescriptions, the pharmacological effects of the drugs, the names of the drugs’ ingredients, the drugs’ names, specifications, and pharmaceutical NHI codes, drug usage and dosage instructions, patient treatment dates, chronic disease refill prescription drug claim dates, drug amounts, number of drug administration days, and calculation of the number of days of medicine that should be left for each prescription.

Information in the NHI PharmaCloud System can be accessed by medical professionals authorized by NHI-contracted medical institutions after dual-card verification (i.e. the medical personnel’s card and the patient’s NHI card) through an exclusive card reader (containing a verification chip). Medical professionals shall also comply with regulatory restrictions and keep known patient information confidential when providing medical services. Safeguarding Medication Safety through the “NHI PharmaCloud System”.

As doctors examine patients, they will be able to find out through the “NHI PharmaCloud System” which drugs patients have recently used or are using. When issuing prescriptions, they will be able to see whether or not the medication taken has been repeatedly taken or whether there are drug interactions, thereby improving medication safety and quality. In addition, they will also take more initiative to care for patients, thus enhancing doctor-patient relationships. Patients can also take the initiative to remind the doctor or pharmacist when seeking attention to help them understand their recent medical information; accompanying family members may also remind the doctor to check the patient’s past medical records. If both the doctor and the patient attach importance to medication safety, the doctor’s prescription will be better informed, benefiting patients, physicians, and the NHI system.

As of July 31, 2015, all hospitals in Taiwan were connected to the NHI PharmaCloud System, and a total of 15,108 contracted medical institutions, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and home care institutions, have conducted searches on the system.