Taiwan Realizes Better Health Care of the Elderly with New Medical IoT and Cloud Services – Healthcare Dive

November 13, 2022
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Taiwan Realizes Better Health Care of the Elderly with New Medical IoT and Cloud Services.  
 
The daily health management of the elderly becomes the focus of medical care worldwide due to an increase in chronic disease patients in the aging global population.
 
The improvement in Taiwan's medical and health care services and social progress that leads to increasing longevity has increased the proportion of the aging population over the years. Meanwhile, the young and middle-aged population in many developed countries has also decreased year by year with declining fertility. Increasing longevity and declining fertility are key factors for a gradual change in the population structure and an aging society. According to the latest population survey of the United Nations, by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65, accounting for 16% of the global population.
 
This indicates that the population aged 65 and over is growing faster than all other age groups, becoming a common global challenge. In Taiwan, the elderly population has currently exceeded 3.8 million, and the nation's aging index has exceeded 100, highlighting that the population of the elderly aged 65 or over has surpassed the young population aged 14 and under. In the future, the speed of population aging will become faster and Taiwan is set to become a "super-aged" society by 2025, indicating that one in five people will be aged 65 and older.
 
The prevalence of chronic diseases increases with age. Therefore, the aging population means an increase in age-related chronic diseases. Taking diabetes as an example, according to the 2021 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) survey, 10.5%, or 547 million, of adults in the world had diabetes in 2021, that is, one in ten adults have diabetes.
 
Compared with the 2019 IDF survey, the number increased by 16%, or 74 million, in 2021. The medical expenditure incurred by diabetes has also increased profoundly by 316% in the past 15 years, indicating that the medical care and the cost of chronic disease care will become a heavy social burden in the future. The cost of diabetes treatment has reached US$760 billion, accounting for about 12% of global medical expenditures, showing that chronic diseases such as diabetes have become a major global problem.  
 
Taiwan's government join forces with local IT leading players to develop interdisciplinary telemedicine services.
 
The MODA (Ministry of Digital Affairs) has taken over the Smart City Taiwan Program this year. With the program, the newly-established ministry aims to collaborate with local governments, leveraging Taiwan's high-tech strengths to help IT companies obtain local opportunities for field trials, jointly develop innovative applications, and solve local problems, especially in six areas related to people's livelihood, healthcare, governance/security, tourism/retail, agriculture, education, and transportation. In terms of healthcare for the elderly, the Program has assisted Compal Electronics in developing a diabetic remote care system called iDiabCare® to help the elderly control blood sugar after discharge. iDiabCare® provides APP for diabetic patients to record physiological data, such as blood sugar, blood pressure, diet, and exercise records.
 
The information is then connected with the hospital's Healthcare Information System (HIS), allowing patients' home physiological data to be uploaded to the HIS system for archive management. This can assist physicians and case managers to monitor the patient's condition. If any physiological data is abnormal, the case manager can be early informed and take a proactive approach to care for patients with diabetes.
 
The iDiabCare® service has served more than 450,000 individuals, more than 20% of whom have witnessed significant improvement in glycosylated hemoglobin. This service featuring outstanding blood glucose management has been successfully exported to Tianjin Makuang Healthcare Group in China. Another example is Chiline HomeCare System, a comprehensive physiological measurement system developed by Taiwan's leading IT brand invented and supported by the Smart City Taiwan program.
 
Chiline HomeCare has comprised a set of devices that measure blood pressure, cholesterol, uric acid, electrocardiogram, and blood oxygen for people's daily health management. After collecting various physiological measurement parameters, the physiological signals can be automatically transmitted to the cloud through wireless communication for data analysis to provide a dynamic view of the health status. In addition, Chiline HomeCare also provides a health management app, which can be installed on any mobile device to consolidate all physiological data.
 
When abnormalities in physiological data are detected, it will immediately notify the family members of the patient and his/her hospital, allowing the remote medical staff or family members to quickly react to the situation. At present, Chiline HomeCare has been introduced into Yunlin County, Taoyuan City, and Kinmen County to help health and social welfare units take better care of local elders. In addition, Thai Airways has also purchased physiological measurement equipment and devices from Chiline HomeCare to provide passengers free health measurement services.
 
With the Smart City Taiwan Program, the MODA is eager to share Taiwan's experience in digital transformation with the world while initiating profound changes in Taiwan. "Taiwan Can Help!" is the core message of Taiwan's government in assisting the international community in recent years, including the development of smart cities around the world. To date, up to 319 Taiwanese enterprises have participated in the Program to foster about 240 intelligent services in 22 counties and cities across Taiwan, benefiting approximately 8.54 million people.
Taiwan smart city development project under the national-level policy. There are visions of smart city have been proposed by Taiwan’s central government, including: transformation of smarter urban governance, transformation of industrial business model and transformation towards better citizens’ livelihoods.
With the advantages possessed by Taiwan in ICTs and digital infrastructures, Taiwan smart city development project uses the public-private partnership (PPP) model to allocate tasks, obligations and risks by bringing public and private sectors together in an optimal way. Domestic solutions are formed to support better smart city practices in Taiwan, particularly to meet the local needs in urban/rural areas.
Read more about Taiwan smart city:Taiwan Smart City Development Project
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