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
As I write this in mid-June, Chinese strongman Xi Jinping (習近平) seems to be at it again, pressuring and bullying Taiwan both rhetorically and militarily. Chinese war planes have been circling Taiwan in an overtly menacing manner, the rhetoric in state-run media has been shrill and threatening, and in general the one party dictatorship on the mainland has been showing its fear and loathing of the democratic republic 90 miles east of the “People’s” Republic. This at a time when the economy on the mainland continues to be in a slump connected to the global economic decline, though there is
On Tuesday, a total of 28 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft intruded into southwestern, southern and eastern areas of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), a record number since the Ministry of National Defense began publishing PLA aircraft movements last year. Taking off from air bases on China’s east coast, 10 Shenyang J-16 multirole strike fighters, six Shenyang J-11 fighter jets and two Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft flew on a course adjacent to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) before turning back. In a separate formation, an assortment of aircraft, including heavy bombers, more J-16s, electronic warfare
NATO leaders in a communique on Monday described China as a threat to the “rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security,” marking a major change of focus for the organization. They said that China “is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal,” is “opaque” about its military modernization and is “cooperating militarily with Russia.” Following the NATO meeting in Brussels, US President Joe Biden assured the alliance that the US would honor its NATO commitments, and said that China and Russia were attempting to drive a wedge between the Washington and European allies. “I want all Europe to know that the United
At their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, last week, US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to once again exchange ambassadors, continue arms reductions and avoid nuclear war, but they continue to wrangle over cyberattacks and human rights issues. Since Biden took office, he has had only one unofficial telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), but he hurried to hold a summit meeting with Putin just after the G7 meeting. Biden’s reasons for these decisions invite speculation. Russia used to be a member of the G8 industrialized countries, but its membership was revoked after it instigated a referendum