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Dr. Po-Chang Lee, Director General of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Administration, led a professional team to visit the Republic of the Philippines to demonstrate Taiwan’s soft power in healthcare– experiences of applying medical informatics to health insurance systems

 Actively involved in global health issues, Taiwan is committed to the campaign “Universal Health Care (UHC)”. In 2012, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Republic of the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Cooperation with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, creating the foundation for long-term exchanges between the two countries in the healthcare field.

 

 To abide with the government’s New Southbound Policy, Dr Po-Chang Lee, Director General of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA), led senior colleagues to organize the “Workshop on Universal Health Coverage: National Health Insurance System, Smart Hospital and Taiwan Experience” on October 17th in Manila. Throughout the workshop, representatives from Taiwan and the Philippines brought forth their experiences and perspectives, exchanging ideas with all of the participants. The application of cloud technology to Taiwan’s NHI system was particularly impressive.

 

 To promote rational use of health resources and enhance the quality of medical service, Taiwan’s NHIA applied cloud technology to build a patient-centered “NHI-MediCloud System” in 2013; this has led to a decrease in repeated medication prescriptions and assures medication safety. The abovementioned workshop was chaired by Dr. Po-Chang Lee and joined by senior staff from the Planning Division, Information System Division, and Northern Division from Taiwan’s NHIA, along with Dr. Hung-Yi Chiou, Distinguished Professor of Taipei Medical University, and Dr. Chin-Lon Lin, CEO of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, totaling 17 people. With the support of Taiwan’s government representative in the Philippines, Ambassador Michael P.Y. Hsu, the workshop was attended by around 100 representatives from the Philippines government agencies and medical departments. Delegates from Taiwan’s NHIA shared their experiences of running the NHI program and establishing the MediCloud system, which successfully demonstrated Taiwan’s soft power in the healthcare field and created a new milestone for the exchange and sharing of healthcare achievements between Taiwan and the Philippines.

 

 Recently, the Philippines actively promoted its NHI program. In 2016, the NHI’s budget was approximately $2.5 billion USD and total medical expenses reached up to 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Private hospitals have flourished, and the development of medical services and insurance systems have competed to a certain level of integrity. In February 2019, the Philippine government signed the “Universal Health Care (UHC) Act” into law, indicating their willingness to develop their own NHI program. The Philippines has shown a strong interest in Taiwan’s NHI and medical information system, and hoped to learn from Taiwan’s experience. Last year, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) took initiative and requested to learn about the implementation processes of Global Budget and TW-DRGs in Taiwan. This year, they also sent high-level officials to attend “APEC Conference on Medical Information Sharing for Enhancing Medical and Disease Management,” held in Taipei by Taiwan’s NHIA, to share their experience with medical informatics and implementation strategies.

 

 Delegates from the Philippines Department of Health and PhilHealth also shared their experiences in implementing the Philippines’ health insurance program during the workshop. Taiwan’s NHIA invited several private enterprises to promote and exhibit their products at the venue, including ASUSTeK Computer Inc and TTY Biopharm Company Ltd. to implement medical and health industry networking under the New Southbound Policy. Most of the participants showed their interests and looked forward to cooperating with these companies.

 

 Dr Po-Chang Lee stated that this year marks the 24th anniversary of Taiwan’s NHI system. With a coverage rate of 99.9% of Taiwan residents and a satisfaction rate of 89.7%, Taiwan’s NHI system has been praised as one of the world’s finest. According to the “CEOWORLD Magazine Health Care Index”, Taiwan has the best healthcare system among 89 countries. In October of this year, the workshop held in Manila was expected to promote a deeper understanding of NHI and medical information systems among officials, scholars, and experts from the healthcare fields of the two countries. Taiwan has demonstrated its soft power in healthcare, enlarged the possibilities of cooperating with Southeast Asian countries, and looked forward to working together for the health and wellbeing of the people in the Philippines and Taiwan.

 

Delegates at the workshop on Universal Health Coverage last October 17, 2019 in Manila

Delegates at the workshop on Universal Health Coverage last October 17, 2019 in Manila

 

workshop on universal health coverage

Group photo of speakers, moderators, delegates from Department of Health, PhilHealth, hospital and the representatives from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and Manila Economic and Cultural Office.

  • Date:2019-10-25