Widening Access to Advanced Medical Technologies

Continuing the dialogue surrounding precision medicines and patient-centered care from a similar event three years earlier, the U.S.-Taiwan Innovative Patient-Centered Care Symposium, co-hosted by AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), took place at the AIT compound in Neihu on December 18. The aim of the event was to demonstrate the value of innovation and explore the impact that advanced U.S. medical technology could have in Taiwan.

The event sponsors were Abbott Vascular, Edwards Lifesciences (Taiwan), Intuitive Surgical Sarl Taiwan Branch, and Novartis.

Opening remarks were delivered by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen and AmCham President Leo Seewald. The event featured presentations on the latest US medical technologies and success stories shared by several local doctors and medical experts. The speakers were former Vice President Chen Chien-jen; Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan; Wang Jaw-yuan, attending physician in the Division of Colorectal Surgery at Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital and a professor at Kaohsiung Medical University; Jong Yuh-jyh, President of the Kaohsiung Medical University; Shih Chun-che, Vice Superintendent of the Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital; and Lu Tse-min, Chief in the Division of Cardiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

Among the medical technologies introduced were surgical robotics, gene therapy, innovations for structural heart disease, and advanced medical imaging. The medical experts shared personal stories of how innovative technology have helped to improve the quality of their patients’ lives. They particularly emphasized the importance of expanding access to the latest treatments. Although advanced medical technology requires higher healthcare expenditures, it enables healthcare providers to increase productivity, enhance treatment procedures, and improve clinical outcomes, thereby delivering life-enhancing care for patients. 

In concluding remarks, former Vice President Chen expressed optimism that the signing of a bilateral cooperation agreement during U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar’s recent visit would enhance government and business collaboration between Taiwan and the U.S., as well as the sharing of information. 

While many innovative U.S. medical technologies are available in Taiwan, cost considerations often pose an obstacle to their widespread adoption. A key theme of the forum was the need for Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program and the private U.S. healthcare sector to work together to identify priorities and implement policies to promote broader access in Taiwan to advanced healthcare treatments.

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