Taiwan’s “innovative” integration of electronic health records with immigration data enabled its targeted response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Hospital Federation (IHF) said in a report released this month.
An IHF Beyond COVID-19 Task Force report, published on Thursday last week, offered insights into how hospitals can embrace new ways of delivering healthcare while responding to the evolving pandemic, and Taiwan’s response was highlighted to show the importance of sharing information and access.
The National Health Insurance Administration’s (NHIA) strategy to share information through MediCloud — which provides healthcare providers and patients with real-time access to health records — to control the pandemic was a key factor in the nation’s success in capping COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths, the report said.
“Although the system was not initially designed to stop a pandemic, it was nimble enough to be reoriented toward one,” the report said.
To help the system identify potential cases, the NHIA created COVID-19 risk indicators in the MediCloud system related to travel footprints, occupation, contacts and clusters, it said.
By linking MediCloud with border entry and exit data uploaded from the National Immigration Agency, the administration created a centralized, real-time alert system for potential COVID-19 cases, the report said.
“These automatic system alerts allow healthcare providers to obtain patients’ travel history, high-risk occupation, contact history and clustering at mass gatherings in real-time, enabling a more efficient triage and accurate diagnosis of COVID-19,” the report said. “This enhancement to the MediCloud system has been vital to Taiwan’s precision testing strategy, which is efficient in testing a small, but critical number of people, instead of mass testing.”
NHIA Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) said that he welcomed the recognition of Taiwan’s strategy as an honor for all healthcare workers in the nation.
The Geneva, Switzerland-based IHF established the task force to help hospitals adopt effective practices and strategies developed during the pandemic, the report said.
The pandemic has accelerated healthcare innovation at an unprecedented pace, toward more effective and agile models of care — a transformation needed in many systems worldwide, the IHF said.
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