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Taiwan’s NKCU to Build First Smart Hospital for Seniors

Indeed, deploying the best technology can offer for society’s ageing population is an ideal proposition. That is what the Medical Centre of National Cheng Kung University (NKCU) wants to achieve. This year, it is set to build its first geriatrics hospital, which will introduce smart technology to create a “hospital without walls”. With the help of the private sector, it will use the latest in Information Communication Technology to care for seniors. At the top of the list is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

To note, Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University College of Medicine is the country’s leading research centre for medical research which includes enterovirus, dengue fever, oncovirus, geriatric medicine and neurology. Above and beyond, however, the institution emphasises medical professionalism and humanism in its medical training.

The proposed smart geriatric hospital is highly customer-centric. Its goal is to co-develop patient-centred medical and healthcare services. Capacity-wise, the hospital will have 440 beds, research and education facilities, and space for collaborative research with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Indeed, NCKU is gathering the resources necessary to push the envelope with regards to new smart geriatric healthcare for Taiwan and the world.

In this planned smart hospital, NCKU Medical Centre is developing a smart AI companion. The development team with the immediate goal of improving the quality of human life is composed of medical researchers from different disciplines. It shall be led by Professor Jung-Hsien Chiang of the AI Biomedical Research Centre in collaboration with a leading tech company.

Their team is focused on designing and developing an AI companion robot for use with family doctor care teams, patients with diabetes and the elderly. The robot was first conceptualised for use with children but, by using deep learning, adding events and seasonal information to the inference procedure, the team has successfully broadened the scope of applications in order to achieve a more user-friendly environment for elderly care users as well.

Added to that, NKCU College of Medicine is integrating 3D technology to develop better surgeons. Specifically, they are employing mixed and virtual reality for the purpose of setting up the Surgical Skills Development Centre. The centre is intended to close the gap between traditional teaching, and clinical applications and curriculum. A gross anatomy room that combines basic and clinical medical science education will be located next to the centre. By teaching students how to meticulously operate delicate craniotomy drills, they will simultaneously learn how to deal with cadavers using precision technology.

Moreover, NKCU is going beyond traditional healthcare. As Taiwan has been officially named an aged society in 2018, being able to factor fitness for the elderly is crucial for prevention. Again, this is where emerging technology can play its part.

With the advent of emerging smart technology, advanced diagnostic technology and an ageing society, smart healthcare will be the most important developing direction for the world in the future. NCKU Medical Device Innovation Center came up health-promoting fitness system for seniors. It includes:

  • integrated senior fitness assessment
  • an intelligent arm ergometer
  • an intelligent stationary bike
  • a keyless interface
  • interactive game guidance

By using big data and AI, the system provides a personalised intelligent fitness prescription for older people. This means that intelligent senior healthcare is no longer out of reach, enabling patients to move towards a happy life in old age.

Great things have been happening to Taiwan, thanks to technology. Considered the semiconductor capital of the world, its chip industry is set to increase with the advent of Driver Assistance Systems (DAS).

Knowing how important ICT emerging technologies are, Taiwan is focusing on expanding its digital capabilities. Recently, the island nation has put up an AI HUB set to make the Pacific nation an artificial intelligence hub for the region, and for the world — as reported on OpenGov Asia.

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