Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Multi-billion dollar healthcare package agreed

On April 30th, Taiwan’s cabinet approved a four-year value-added healthcare package totaling US$2.6 billion to upgrade Taiwan’s healthcare industry. This boost is expected to increase the healthcare industry’s value to US$10.4 billion in 2012 and create 310,000 new job opportunities.

Health Minister Yeh Jing-chuan said the package is comprised of six major categories: medical treatment, long-term care, health care, intelligent medical services, international medical services, and national health security.

The centerpiece of this package is intelligent medical services that will completely digitize all medical reports, medical images and patient histories within five years. The package will also set up medical imaging exchange centers and promote a second generation of health ID cards. The current total market value of monitoring medical devices, radio frequency identification (RFID) and medical information stands at around US$623 million, which will be increased to US$3.8 billion in 2012.

Intelligent medical services will have a strong profit potential when set up to provide a medical platform based on information technology which is Taiwan’s forte. The international medical service sector includes hip and other joint replacement operations, dental implants, liver and bone marrow transplants, and medical tourism with physical examinations.

According to a medical business leader interviewed by The United Daily News, many Asian countries are also promoting medical tourism. Therefore, Taiwan should focus on the overseas Chinese markets in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Macau, and the Chinese mainland since it shares a similar language and culture.

The transplant surgery cost in Taiwan is comparatively low. When comparing an artificial hip or joint replacement. The surgery cost in the US is US$50,000 and only US$ 8,000 in Taiwan.

The Liberty Times reported that the government plans to simplify the entry visa application process for foreigners to enter Taiwan for medical treatment and physical examinations, and also set up a routine allowing mainland Chinese to visit Taiwan for the same purpose.

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About Me

The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.