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Taiwan ranks second in first Asia-Pacific Personalized Health index

Dental assistant Maribel Zaragoza volunteered to work on testing in Madera County. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TAIPEI, Jan 31, 2021, Focus Taiwan. Taiwan ranked second behind Singapore, out of 11 Asia Pacific countries in a new health index that measures progress toward personalized healthcare, Focus Taiwan reported.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report “Asia-Pacific Personalized Health Index,” released on Jan. 28, praised Taiwan for its “strong digital infrastructure, comprehensive health data collection, increasing data interoperability, and signs of a robust personalized health workforce.”

The report, however, said Taiwan could further strengthen its position by “increasing investment in healthcare research and development and improving the accessibility of data for research.”

“Clearer and more connected strategies concerning the use of personalized health-enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence as well as improving equity in healthcare access and quality could also be a focus for Taiwan moving forward,” it added.

The index measures the readiness of 11 health systems across the region — Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and New Zealand — to adopt personalized healthcare, enabling the right care to be tailored to the right person at the right time.

The index was released as part of the FutureProofing Healthcare initiative, led by a panel of 15 leading healthcare experts across the Asia-Pacific, during a webinar titled: “Building long-term sustainable and personalized healthcare systems,” held in Singapore on Jan. 28.

Gau Churn-shiouh, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at National Taiwan University and former Executive Director of Taiwan’s Center for Drug Evaluation, one of the 15 experts, told reporters that Taiwan’s performance is largely because of the solid foundation the country built over the past decades with its national health care database and National Taiwan Cancer Registry Center, among others.

Taiwan has one of the world’s top digital infrastructures, allowing precision medicine to flourish in the country, she added.

However, there is still has much room for improvement in speeding up new medicine applications, Gau said.

The ‘Personalized Health Index’ measures performance against 27 different indicators of personalized health across four categories called ‘Vital Signs.’ These include Policy Context, Health Information, Personalized Technologies and Health Services.

In the health information indicator, Taiwan ranked 3rd with a score of 76. This takes into account data, infrastructure and technical expertise driving personalized healthcare.

In health services, Taiwan ranked 5th with a score of 64. That indicator includes planning, organization and delivery of services with respect to personalized healthcare.

Under Personalized Technologies indicator, Taiwan ranked 3rd with a score of 62. This takes into account the devices, applications, platforms and reimbursement structures that drive personalized healthcare based on the needs of stakeholders.

With a score of 66, Taiwan was 3rd in the Policy Context indicator which includes the polities, frameworks, partnerships, people and drivers that facilitate personalized healthcare.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Joseph Yeh)

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