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Innovative applications of National Health Insurance database

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Since its inception in 1995, Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) system has provided health equity for all by making medical care universal, accessible and less burdensome financially. Over that time, the system has also amassed a wealth of patient medical records, drug information, medical images, laboratory test results and other interagency material, creating an impressive body of data matched by few other countries. This database has been put to new and innovative uses in recent years—including research on disease prevention and treatment—with the aims of raising medical care standards, assisting and upgrading Taiwan's health care and biotechnology industries, and enhancing the health and well-being of the people of Taiwan.

Three major applications

NHI MediCloud system: The MediCloud system allows physicians to quickly retrieve a patient's medical records from other hospitals and facilities to prevent any duplication of medication and tests. By sharing medical images, health examination reports and laboratory test results, the system will help ensure treatment and medication safety while reducing waste of costly medical resources.

"My Health Bank" service: Using this service, patients can better manage their health by accessing their own records of doctor visits, surgical procedures, medication use, and medical test reports going back three years. The system also includes a software development kit, so that the user may authorize trusted third-party app developers to access his or her medical records for creating value-added services or linking with other patient self-management tools.

Artificial intelligence analysis of NHI data (pilot program): With patient privacy a top priority, the NHI Administration on June 4, 2019 released a trove of completely de-identified medical records including CT and MRI scans, detailed NHI clinical records, medical examinations and lab test reports. This database may be used with permission by public service agencies, academic research institutions (including commercial businesses), and professional associations for the development of artificial intelligence and precision medical treatments, creating advantages for Taiwan's biotech and health care industries and raising the quality of medical care services.

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