Taiwan and the US are considering sharing healthcare-related data to help facilitate medical research in both countries, National Health Insurance (NHI) Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) said in Washington on Saturday.
The US National Institutes of Health is interested in the data accumulated by the NHI, particularly for research purposes.
In Taiwan, “we have compiled big data from the health insurance system, and we’re using artificial intelligence [to process it],” Lee said. “We now have a tacit understanding with the US to see how we can cooperate in that field.”
That understanding emerged from his meeting on Tuesday with US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Principal Deputy Director Hugh Auchincloss, he said.
He told Auchincloss about MediCloud, the information sharing system on the NHI platform, which has been collecting and storing data for more than 20 years.
“Analysis of that data could make a big contribution to medical research,” Lee said.
MediCloud contains information on tens of thousands of cases, but the US does not have a similar central database, which means health records have to be obtained from individual hospitals, he said.
The US’ interest in MediCloud data was evident on Saturday at a medical conference at The George Washington University on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) — the resistance of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites to drugs, he said.
MediCloud stores the health records of patients from all over the nation, which means health professionals could more easily conduct research on AMR, he said.
The results of the research could then be passed on to the government to develop responses to AMR, he said, adding that the US is interested in that process.
While the MediCloud data could be shared and used for many purposes, the government is committed to protecting patients’ privacy, Lee said.
Lee on Saturday also spoke at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US’ cultural center about the NHI system.
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