Forum’s Participants are Challenged to Reimagine Healthcare

AmCham Taiwan’s 2021 Healthcare Innovation Forum was held on October 25 at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, drawing an audience of 80 members and their guests. The Chamber was honored to gather industry leaders and experts in tech, innovation, and healthcare fields to explore the possibilities afforded by smart healthcare.

Opening remarks at the forum were provided by Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Sandra Oudkirk, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Jui-Yuan Hsueh, and AmCham Taiwan Chairperson CW Chin. Minister without Portfolio of the Executive Yuan Audrey Tang delivered the event’s keynote speech.

Demonstrating a sincere democratic spirit, Minister Tang crowdsourced the content of her speech from questions posed by audience members. She stressed the importance of working with the people rather than for the people and expressed a belief in assistive technology that enables trust and accountability as an integral part of the future of healthcare.

The first presentation of the event was given by Julie Gerberding, chief patient officer and executive vice president of Population Health & Sustainability at MSD. Gerberding advocated an increase of public-private partnerships (PPP) to unlock the value of innovation in precision medicine and innovative vaccines. While research and development can be costly, “health is not a cost to be contained, but an investment to the people,” she said.

Next, IBM Taiwan Chief Technical Officer Steve Chuang, together with Industry Business Development Manager Joey Wu, discussed the potential of federated learning and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) architecture. Wu noted that FHIR would enable equal access to healthcare and stressed the importance of precision health in managing healthcare spending.

Meanwhile, Chuang noted the possibilities of AI technologies in healthcare and their ability to produce data-driven insights. Drawing comparisons with Brett King’s book Bank 4.0: Banking Everywhere, Never at a Bank, Chuang noted that the future of healthcare is to provide “healthcare everywhere, not only in hospitals.”

As pandemic travel restrictions prohibited Andrew J. Shogan, president of multi-disciplinary oncology at Varian, a Siemens Healthineers company, from attending in person, he delivered a speech via video call instead. Shogan discussed precision oncology services and solutions that use AI and digital health tools to affordably enhance the quality and efficiency of care across cancer patient journeys.

This year’s Healthcare Innovation Forum featured a panel discussion moderated by Karen Lei, general manager of IQVIA Solutions Taiwan. Panelists included Peter Chu, general manager of IBM Taiwan’s Technology Group; Jae Yon Choi, managing director of MSD Taiwan; and Christina Lin, managing director of Varian Taiwan.

The panelists discussed the added value of healthcare innovation to Taiwan and the advantages of allowing leading technology to be used to enhance healthcare. Additionally, strategies for expediting innovation, increasing investment for U.S. companies, and international collaboration were deliberated.

While all panelists commended Taiwan on its efforts to contain COVID-19 both domestically and internationally and its dedication to precision medicine, they also stressed that innovation requires investment. Noting that Taiwan’s healthcare spending is lower than the OECD average, one panelist argued that “we need to save lives – not budget.”

In closing remarks, former Vice President of Taiwan Professor Chen Chien-Jen congratulated the participants on their outstanding presentations. Taiwan’s success rests on the National Health Insurance (NHI) system, noted Chen, and providing improved solutions requires comprehensive analyses of outcomes and costs. If PPPs can be leveraged successfully to advance precision health, Taiwan has the potential to become a hub of healthcare innovation.

“This is merely the beginning of a more innovative future in healthcare,” said Chen.

The 2021 Healthcare Innovation Forum was co-hosted by AmCham Taiwan and AIT and was sponsored by IBM, MSD, and Varian.