The nation’s aging population has led to a growing number of people with chronic diseases and, as a result, a higher need for new medical and pharmaceutical technologies.
Higher premiums might be inevitable due to increasing expenses, as the National Health Insurance (NHI) reserve fund is expected to run out by 2021 at the latest.
Considering the nation’s economic and political situation, and knowing that increasing NHI funding is difficult, the best solution is to cut unnecessary expenses.
According to statistics from last year, Western medicine prescribed by outpatient departments and clinics is the program’s primary expense, accounting for 34.8 percent of all NHI expenditures. This is followed by checkups, which account for 15.5 percent.
To reform the program, the government must first reallocate healthcare resources.
Late last year, the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) expanded its “cloud medical history system” and renamed it the “medical treatment cloud database.”
The system is designed to help doctors better understand their patients’ medical history, including prescribed medicines and checkups.
The government last year took measures to prevent repeat prescriptions by different doctors of commonly used drugs — such as those for hypertension, hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia — as well as hypnotics and sedatives. This not only reduced the health risks brought about by drug interactions, but also lowered medical costs by NT$130 million (US$4.31 million) per year.
In addition, the NHIA is asking hospitals to upload patients’ test results — including blood tests, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging results — to the cloud.
The agency is working with Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taichung Veterans’ General Hospital, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital and Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital to check and sort images, and test the cloud system.
The goal is to enable all levels of the healthcare system to share information through the cloud, prevent additional expenses caused by unnecessary checkups or exams and build an effective referral system.
Without a beginning, there will be no chance for change. Hopefully more information on a person’s medical history would help them develop a closer relationship with their doctors. People are also encouraged to volunteer information about their recent checkups.
Only when healthcare professionals, members of the public and the NHIA work together can unnecessary medical expenses be prevented. This is essential for the sustainability of the NHI program.
Lee Po-chang is director-general of the National Health Insurance Administration.
Translated by Tu Yu-an
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please
Drugged with sedatives, handcuffed and wearing a bright orange prison tunic, British fraud investigator and former journalist Peter Humphrey was escorted by warders into an interrogation room filled with reporters, locked inside a steel cage and fastened to a metal “tiger chair.” Humphrey recalls: “I was completely surrounded by officers, dazed, manacled and with cameras pointing at me through the bars. I was fighting for my life like a caged animal. It was horrifying.” Footage from the interrogation was later artfully edited to give the appearance of a confession and broadcast on Chinese state media. While this might sound like an
The US House of Representatives on July 1 passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill that would penalize Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as banks that do business with them. The following day, the US Senate unanimously passed the bill, which was later sent to the White House, where it awaits US President Donald Trump’s signature. The bill does not spell out what the sanctions would look like and Trump has yet to sign it into law, but Reuters on Thursday last week reported that five major Chinese state lenders are considering