Mon, May 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

NHI referral system used by 13,000 people since March

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

More than 13,000 people have used the online patient referral system launched in March by the National Health Insurance Administration and more than 11,000 of them have successfully made appointments, the agency said.

In celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the National Health Insurance (NHI), the agency on Saturday held a public event at Taipei’s 228 Peace Memorial Park to promote the hospital classification and patient referral systems.

Over the past 22 years, many people have become accustomed to seeking treatment directly at medical centers and large hospitals, no matter whether their illnesses are severe or not, which is not beneficial for the healthcare system, agency Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) said.

The agency encourages people to seek treatment at clinics or regional hospitals near their homes and have the doctor there refer them to medical centers if they need further diagnosis or treatment, he said.

Through the online system, “referral counters at medical centers will contact you and tell you when appointments are available and with which doctor,” Lee said. “This is more convenient for patients than letting them figure out where and how to make an appointment by themselves.”

He said the referral system works both ways — as people with chronic diseases who have been treated at medical centers or large hospitals, become more stable, they can be referred back to local clinics or hospitals for regular checkups.

Many doctors at local clinics or regional hospitals have been fully trained at medical centers or large hospitals, so people should not be concerned, Lee said, adding that an effective hospital classification system could help reserve resources at medical centers for people with more serious conditions.

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