Thu, Mar 06, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Experts tout Taiwan-Canada healthcare partnership

Staff writer, with CNA

Canada and Taiwan should deepen their partnership in developing electronic healthcare systems to provide better services in both countries, industry experts said on Tuesday.

Joseph Cafazzo, the lead researcher at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at Toronto’s University Health Network, said Canada and Taiwan share the same values in healthcare research, including the principle of offering high-quality healthcare services to patients.

“But we also differ in many complementary aspects,” Cafazzo said at a panel discussion at the Canada-Taiwan e-Health and Innovation Summit, organized by the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei.

He said Taiwan is a powerhouse in information and communications technology, and understands manufacturing and scaling products, which complements the life science research in which Canada has expertise.

“So I think it’s a great partnership in terms of using our complementary skills and creating a healthcare system of the future,” Cafazzo said.

Canadian government statistics shows that the healthcare industry is the largest vertically integrated industry in Canada, which spends about 11.2 percent of its GDP on healthcare.

With almost 400,000 general practitioners, more than 700 hospitals and 1,600 long-term care facilities, Canada has a wealth of experience in managing health information across these areas and using information technology to reduce inefficiencies in the healthcare system.

Meanwhile, Ministry of the Interior statistics shows that as of the end of last year, senior citizens aged 65 and older accounted for 11.5 percent of Taiwan’s population. That ratio is likely to grow as life expectancy continues to increase and the local birth rate remains low, the ministry said.

The aging population in Taiwan and other nations, together with associated diseases such as diabetes, is driving the fast market growth of wireless patient monitoring devices, said Wu Guo-zua (吳國瑞), director of the Biomedical Device Laboratory at the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

The use of new patient-monitoring technologies can result in better patient care and the detection of serious health problems before they become an issue, Wu said at the panel discussion.

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