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Cutting-edge MedTech from Taiwan

As COVID-19 spread across the world in 2020, Taiwan gained worldwide attention for its quick control of the virus and donations of face masks and equipment to help others fight it. What is perhaps less known is that Taiwan has long had one of Asia’s most advanced and efficient healthcare systems, which supports a vibrant ecosystem of MedTech companies and products.

A rapidly growing number of Taiwanese Medtech companies are emerging, teaming up with doctors and hospitals to develop new ways of helping people to live longer and healthier lives. One reason for this success is Taiwan’s existing strengths in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, being the leading producer of semiconductors globally. It also has a trove of digitalised patient data that has been collected since the 1990s under a national health insurance programme, which is fertile for innovations involving Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Taiwan’s excellent healthcare infrastructure, combined with many government-supported digitalisation initiatives, local engineering expertise and a strong local ICT component supply chain has spurred the development of many innovative medical solutions.

Taiwan’s innovators are helping make healthcare more patient-centric – at times inspired by their personal experiences. After years of research and development, a founder of a MedTech company created a small, portable blood collection device. Rather than drawing blood from a vein in a patient’s arm, blood is collected from the index, middle or ring finger of either hand.

A founder of a medical device manufacturing company developed a prototype for the iNAP when he worked at the Medical Electronics and Device Technology Centre of Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). In such an innovation-driven environment, he got the chance to develop a whole new therapy theory using negative air pressure, a quiet and portable solution without a mask based on a suction mechanism.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Taiwanese company has developed a solution that transforms a smartphone into a device capable of rapidly testing for COVID-19. Using the colour sensing capabilities of smartphone cameras and proprietary software, the PixoTest POCT COVID-19 analyser and test kit can detect positive cases within 15 minutes, making it among the fastest and most accurate tests available. The solution is fully digitised, connecting the test results and vaccination status of an individual with the issuance of a digital health pass and access control, where the relevant authorities enable it.

Taiwanese companies are also active in the cutting-edge field of regenerative medicine, which helps the body to heal by regrowing or repairing damaged bones and tissue. One company innovating in this field whose treatments, called Acti-PRP and A-BMC, are already being used in orthopaedic surgery. They work by drawing blood or bone marrow from a patient and creating a concentrated liquid of the key elements through centrifugation.

All of these companies have each received a Taiwan Excellence Award, which is given out each year by the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to recognise and celebrate Taiwan’s most innovative and high-quality products. With its visionary entrepreneurs, rapidly growing Medtech sector and firmly established expertise in ICT, Taiwan is well-placed to continue being a source of innovation and high-quality medical products.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan has partnered with Malaysia to organise an online showcase with the theme of “Smart Medical” to share and learn about the latest Taiwanese medical treatment and smart living technologies. Taiwan’s most reputable hospitals shared some of the latest disease treatment technologies.

Apart from sharing medical information, the showcase was aimed at building working relationships with Malaysian medical professionals to create a healthier and better life for the people. Taiwanese medical technologies are recognised by the global healthcare community for their continuous efforts in researching and developing high-efficiency medical equipment.

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