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The Influence of AI in Taiwan’s Healthcare

Taiwan has long been a model for the implementation and use of new technologies. Taiwanese companies are forerunners when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare. Implanting AI in healthcare systems, such as IoT, 5G, Algorithm and Machine Learning, has created positive and significant changes in medical fields. AI improves the efficiency and accuracy of diagnosis, reduces the load of medical personnel, and is cost-effective at the same time.

The influence of AI can also be seen in personalising the healthcare plan. Through the analysis of Personal Health Record (PHR) and recognising the risk factors for health, AI can assist doctors to predict potential diseases and preventing emergent danger from patients.

Since the collaboration between BioTech and AI has opened the age of smart medical care, Taiwan’s ICT industries, are working with medical-related organisations too. Their cooperation has been accelerating the improvement of Taiwan’s smart healthcare. The collaboration of medical fields and technology industries is influencing the entire medical environment thoroughly, and Taiwan’s government also takes these cross-disciplinary integrations as the major approach to the plans of future smart healthcare.

– Dr Chii Wann Lin, Vice President Industrial Technology Research Institute & General Director, Biomedical Technology and Device Research Laboratories

AI has contributed throughout the entire healthcare ecosystem, the applications could generally be categorised in four phases of medical care: Prediction, Detection, Diagnosis and treatment advice. Successful use of AI and smart MedTech consist of the efforts from the medical sector, information technology industry (Algorithm of big data, IoT, machine learning, etc.) and supervising organisations. They worked together, have extended the possibility of MedTech innovation and also created more opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation.

Through the development of smart medical care in recent years, it is not hard to predict the future transformation of healthcare will move forward to precision and prevention medicine, to use telemedicine.

More cross-disciplinary collaborations will be required, then ideally to form an ecosystem. Taiwan is working on this vision as well. The advantage we have is integrating the big healthcare data from the medical system via the ICT industries. Taiwan is also actively working on international cooperation and striving to make contributions to the world’s smart healthcare development.

Given the mature development of high-tech industries, Taiwan is having a profound capability from the technology industries to support building a smart medical care system, and there have been many remarkable collaborations between the IT and Medical industries.

For example, a tech company has done cross-industry work with the global healthcare company and National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) and invented the AI-assisted diagnostic software which now is already used for diagnosing diabetic retinopathy.

The software was created and adjusted by AI learning models over the data of 100,000 patients and retinal images from both inside and outside of Taiwan. It analyses the level of diabetic retinopathy. The accuracy is over 95% which is very close to the diagnosis by ophthalmologists. This effectively helps doctors to identify the patients that may potentially have diabetic retinopathy at the early stage.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, A research team led by NTUH developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that speeds up leukemia diagnosis after completing trials at four medical institutions in Taiwan and the United States.

The trials have conducted assessments and differential counting of bone marrow smears which are used for leukemia diagnosis. A total of 254 patients were involved in the trials. The diagnosis results using the AI system reached a matching rate of 70-90% with those by a human doctor. The AI system has received approval from Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare and the European Union for marketing as an AI medical device.

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