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Guam patients receive life-changing care at Taiwan hospital


SUCCESS STORIES: Patients of the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan watch video clips of their stories that were shared during the press conference at the Hyatt Regency Guam on Tuesday. From left to right, Joseph Lujan, Tony Palomo, and Theodore Nelson. Haruo Simion/The Guam Daily Post Ted Nelson was in his 40s and teaching at the University of Guam when he injured his back demonstrating a basketball move to kids in a youth development program. “It just went out,” he said. Nearly a decade of pain lay ahead for Nelson and the injury further hurt his hips and knees, he said. “I started deteriorating. I was really hurting,” said Nelson, now nearly 60. The physical pain and immobility took a hard toll on him, he said. Before the accident, he was very active, “I loved the outdoors, hiking, free diving, fishing, and hunting.” After multiple back surgeries, two in the Philippines and one in Hawaii, Nelson was still struggling and unable to walk. This summer he traveled to Taiwan and had two hip replacements and a nine-hour surgery on his back at the China Medical University in Taichung. Nelson spoke at a press conference on Tuesday held by the hospital at the Hyatt Regency Guam in Tumon. He said he is now, “100% better,” and hopes to be walking when he returns in February for a checkup. “I look at this as a new lease on life,” he said. Surgery helped man lose 235 pounds Thirty-four-year-old Joseph Lujan, a counselor with the Guam Department of Education, is half the man he was two years ago when he traveled to the China Medical University Hospital for a gastric bypass surgery, which significantly limits the size and capacity of the stomach. At 570 pounds, Lujan had to buy tickets for two plane seats for the trip to Taiwan. On Tuesday, he shared that he now weighs 235 pounds and is much more active and healthy. “So I have more energy to be up in front of my students,” he said. He said he will soon return to Taiwan for a checkup at the hospital. “Now I only have to purchase one ticket, which is awesome,” he said. Dr. Hsien-Te Chen, the director of the Spine Center at China Medical University Hospital, discussed the specialized care at the center and explained other successful surgeries he has performed there. Dr. Chih-Kun Huang spoke about the success of the BMI Center where Lujan received his surgery. The hospital accepts several health insurance providers, including Aetna, Cigna, NetCare, Staywell and TakeCare. (Written by Lannie Walker and provided by The Guam Daily Post on 2019/10/16)

Guam patients receive life-cha...

Learning to appreciate a modern miracle - Taiwan


It is not surprising that many, perhaps most, people around the world do not know about Taiwan. After all, China -- with the support of more and more countries -- has isolated Taiwan diplomatically for more than forty years, and recently China has been campaigning to eliminate even the name of Taiwan as a global destination. Following the demise of Mao Zedong, China increasingly prospered and attracted business people, tourists, and students from around the world, who too often have bypassed Taiwan. Once, for example, almost everyone wishing to learn Mandarin came to Taiwan, but most now go to China. What is more surprising, however, is that many Taiwanese themselves do not sufficiently appreciate their own country. Taiwanese often ask me with a puzzled look, why I live in Taiwan. Over time, I have come to believe this reflects both a native modesty, but also perhaps a misperception of Taiwan’s place in the world, a lack of knowledge of the extraordinary accomplishments of their own country, and to some extent therefore a lack of confidence in Taiwan. Such attitudes need to change. TAIWAN IS A MIDDLE POWER As Professor Bruce Jacobs, the leading Australian expert on Taiwan, first argued, Taiwan is a “Middle Power” in the world. As a country with some 23.5 million people, Taiwan has in fact more people than 77% of the world’s countries and territories, according to the CIA’s World Factbook (WF). Although Taiwan’s land area is relatively small, it is still larger than 46% of the world’s nations and territories. Taiwan’s economic strength also ranks it as a “Middle Power.” Although under the influence of China, the World Bank states “Taiwan, China, is not listed as a separate country for World Development Indicators,” we know from other sources that, according to 2017 estimates, Taiwan ranked 22nd in the world in total GDP in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms. In per capita GDP (PPP) – which many economists regard as a better measure of an economy’s strength -- Taiwan ranked 28th in the world, better than Australia (29), Canada (34), the UK (39), France (40), Japan (42), South Korea (46), Israel (55), and China (105) (WF). TAIWAN’S GREAT ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS SUCCESS Taiwan’s other economic rankings are equally, if not more impressive. As of October 2018, Taiwan was the 11th largest U.S. trading partner (U.S. Census Bureau). In the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom for 2019, Taiwan ranked 10th out of 186 countries, ahead of Germany (25), South Korea (27) Japan (30), Israel (31), France (71), and China (110). In the Global Economic Forum Competitiveness Report for 2018-19, Taiwan ranked 13th, ahead of Australia (14), South Korea (15), France (17), Israel (20), and China (28). In the World Bank’s 2019 “Ease of Doing Business” rankings, “Taipei, China” earned 13th place, ahead of Australia (18), Canada (22), Germany (24), France (32), Netherlands (36), Japan (39), and China (46). Although Taiwanese often complain about their country’s wealth gap, Taiwan’s GINI Index (which measures the gap between the rich and the poor) indicates it actually ranks in the top third of countries with the smallest gaps. Out of 156 countries and territories ranked in the WF, Lesotho and South Africa are in 1st and 2nd place respectively with the greatest gaps, but other places not doing well either are Hong Kong (9), China (31), Malaysia (32), Singapore (38), and the U.S. (41). Taiwan, however, ranks in 112th place. TAIWAN IS ALSO A LEADER IN TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION The U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) reports that Taiwan ranked 5th in the world in 2015 and 2016 and 6th in the world in 2017 and 2018 in the number of patents granted by the USPTO. Only the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Germany, and more recently China, surpassed Taiwan. This is all the more remarkable considering Taiwan’s much smaller population. Taiwan is also a world leader in new technologies like nanotechnology. It ranked 4th in 2016 and in 5th in the world in 2017 (the last year for which statistics have been published) in USPTO nanotechnology patents. According to Taiwan Today on February 16, 2019, Taiwan maintained its global lead in integrated circuit 200mm-equivalent wafer fab capacity for the 4th consecutive year. Based on a report by the semiconductor research firm IC Insights Inc., as of December 2018, Taiwan enjoyed a global share of 21.8%, ahead of South Korea (21.3%), Japan (16.8%), North America (12.8%), and China (12.5%). Taipei itself ranked 1st in Asia and 5th among the world’s most technologically advanced 85 cities, according to a study commissioned by Business Insider published on Aug. 8, 2017 based on such factors as the number of patents filed per capita, number of startups, and the level of smartphone use. Taipei, the only Asian city in the top 5, led other cities in industrial design, hardware, the number of headquarters of some of the largest PC companies, and the number of venture capitalists. Aside from its many excellent universities, Taiwan has also scored 4th is the world in science and math in the influential “Program for International Student Assessment” test rankings in 2015. The exams, run by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, are given every three years to 15-year-olds in more than 70 countries. FREE, DEMOCRATIC, AND HAPPY…. Economic and technological achievements are not, however, the only reasons why Taiwan is such a great success and such a great place to live. Taiwan is also a vibrant democracy, where freedom, rule of law, and human rights are all fostered and protected. This is something which the U.S. officials who negotiated establishing relations with the PRC never foresaw. In fact, while the seeds of democracy were always here, Taiwan’s transition to democracy really only took 10 years -- from 1986 to 1996 -- an amazingly quick transition. It is hardly surprising therefore that since 1996 Taiwan’s democracy has only grown stronger. In Freedom House’s 2018 survey of global freedom, Taiwan ranked tied for 8th place in freedom out of 210 countries in the world. Embarrassingly enough, the United States only ranked tied for 15th place. Taiwan’s aggregate freedom score was 93 out of 100; the U.S. 86; Hong Kong 59; and the PRC 14. Freedom indeed plays a key role in the quality of life in Taiwan. In the annual, originally UN-initiated World Happiness Report for 2018, Taiwan ranked 1st in Asia in “happiness,” ahead of Singapore (34), Japan (54), South Korea (57), Hong Kong (76), and China (86), and ranked 26th in the world overall among 156 countries and territories. The six key variables on which the rankings are based are those found to support a sense of well-being: freedom to make life choices, per capita income, social support (caring and having someone to count on in times of trouble), healthy life expectancy at birth, generosity, and perceptions of corruption (which indicates good governance, honesty and trust). AND VERY FRIENDLY While Taiwanese generally appreciate the benefits their country affords them -- whether virtually free health care, free or very inexpensive education, convenient transportation, accessible cities, excellent restaurants, wonderful cultural opportunities, and great scenery -- they don’t always appreciate how attractive life in Taiwan also is to foreigners. But there is considerable evidence that foreigners really like Taiwan as well. Among all the countries in the world where expatriates live, Taiwan Ranked 1st in 2016, 4th in 2017, and 2nd in 2018 in the online “InterNations Expat Insider” survey of “Best Countries for Expats.” In 2018 Taipei also ranked 1st in the quality of urban living, and also scored in the top five for all indices in InterNations expat city ranking. The report highly praised Taipei, saying that no expats in the other ranked cities were as satisfied with the availability, affordability, and quality of medical care, as well as local transportation and personal safety. (Numbeo’s Crime Index for 2019, based on online surveys, similarly ranked Taiwan as the 4th safest country in the world, after Qatar, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.) The InterNations survey also gave Taipei a 1st place ranking in 2018 for the general friendliness of the Taiwanese and their positive attitude toward foreign residents. An overwhelming 94% highly rated the general friendliness of locals in Taipei. Likewise, customers of -- one of the largest e-commerce travel companies -- selected Taiwan as the 5th most friendly country in the world in 2018. As the Taiwanese people consider the future of their country, it is necessary that they appreciate and value the extraordinary success they have already achieved. It is also necessary that those who are too willing to dismiss Taiwan as a country worth helping to support and defend also understand Taiwan’s unique achievements. (Written byWilliam Stantonand provided by Taiwan News on 2019/02/19)

Learning to appreciate a moder...

Taiwan tops the expat health care charts


The island offers the cheapest and best medical facilities of any country in the world, according to a new survey Nearly seven in 10 expats in Taiwan say they spend less on health care than they used to before moving – compared with a global average of just three in 10. Meanwhile almost two-thirds say they enjoy a higher quality of health care in Taiwan than they did at home, against a global average of less than four in 10. Runners-up on the chart produced by HSBC showing affordable and cheap countries in terms of care were the UK, Thailand, Japan and Saudi Arabia. At the opposite end of the scale, expats in Brazil, New Zealand, Ireland and the USA complained that they have to put up with expensive and poor quality health care. The statistics form part of HSBC’s latest Expat Explorer survey which was completed by more than by 9,000 expats from over 100 countries through an online questionnaire in April and May 2014. The survey report said: “The Taiwanese health care system is coveted by health care tourists around the world, but its simple rules for expats and provisions for health insurance are what distinguish it from the pack in this year’s survey. “Upon relocation, all expats and their employers are required to register with the National Health Insurance system, which grants them access to medical and dental care. “Contrary to how many expats feel about the paperwork involved with getting enrolled onto local health care systems, nearly seven in 10 expats in Taiwan agree that organising health insurance is relatively easy compared to a global average of 55 per cent who said the same.” According to the Foreign and Commonwealth office, around 120,000 British nationals travel to Taiwan annually and about 3,000 Britons live and work there. The population of the island is around 23 million. The FCO states in its guide to the country: “As is to be expected of a nation as developed as Taiwan, health care facilities and medical equipment are of outstanding quality. Since 1995, Taiwan has had a socialised health care plan, the National Health Insurance (NHI) which covers nearly all citizens.” According to the Internations expat forum, the NHI premium is 4.91 per cent of gross earnings. The employee pays 30 per cent and the rest is contributed by the employer and by government subsidies. Those who travel to the country on a short-term basis can expect to pay in cash for any medical services they require. (Written by Elizabeth Roberts and provided by The Telegraph on 2014/10/28)

Taiwan tops the expat health c...

Taipei Medical University pioneers world’s largest virtual reality anatomy class


In collaboration with HTC, Taipei Medical University established the world’s largest virtual reality (VR) anatomy classroom in late 2018. The 3D Organon VR system gives headgear-wearing students a comprehensive view of structures in the human body. The university is working with the health and medical division of smart phone and VR manufacturer HTC (High Tech Computer Corporation). The resulting world’s largest VR anatomy class is furnished with 10 sets of VIVE Pro (awarded 2018 VR headgear of the year) and 3D Organon VR anatomy software. This enables individual study as well as cooperative use of the same VR environment, and allows students to visualize lectures on anatomical structures in depth to better understand how bodies function. Anatomy and Cell Biology Director Hung-Ming Chang of the College of Medicine says adding VR to anatomy courses overcomes previous limitations such as unobservable structures or awkward angles. As students can better learn how anatomical structures are interlinked in three-dimensional spaces, this should increase instructional effectiveness. Director Chang calls the 3D Organon VR Anatomy software students’ best way to gain in-depth anatomical understanding. While cadaver dissection provides irreplaceable realism, the VR headset allows repeated examinations of various body parts unchanged by incisions and other exploratory changes that are part of cadaver study. Because the immersive 360-degree view shows tissues, bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and organs, students are better prepared for future clinical work. Edward Y. Chang, HTC’s health and medical division manager, says VR technology’s three-dimensional visualization is a new teaching method that accelerates learning. Use of VR in medical education and clinical applications will help more students, teachers, clinical medical staff and patients in the future. Cadaver donations are limited and cannot be used repeatedly, limiting the time students have to work on a cadaver and learn dissection. The new 3D tools do not present these limitations. The 3D Organon VR Anatomy system’s immersive learning environment increases student participation with different instructional techniques. It can support up to 300 individuals online at the same time, and can disassemble and rotate over 4000 anatomical structures in the VR environment. Besides stationary VR human body part models, the system also provides dynamic dissection models realistically presenting the extension and contraction of muscles and the beating of the heart. Even heart valve motion can be examined, giving students a perspective impossible to gain with a cadaver. TMU anatomy classes all have VR equipment so students can study before, during and after dissection. They can move, disassemble or go through human body structures to note organs’ relative positions in combination with lab classes. Future 3D Organon VR Anatomy improvements will complement TMU’s development of more VR courses that can be applied to previews, in-class use and reviews to encourage active learning. The system will be further expanded to in-service and continuing education, the “smart medicine” EMBA and medical camps for pre-college students. (Written and provided by Taipei Medical University on 2019/03/06)

Taipei Medical University pion...

An American got sick in Taiwan. He came back with a tale of the ‘horrors of socialized medicine.’


The Facebook post was illustrated with an image of an IV. “Went to the ER in Taiwan,” it began. Kevin Bozeat, a 25-year-old student, wrote about coming down with severe gastrointestinal symptoms while studying in Taiwan: stomach cramps, bouts of vomiting that would not abate and, perhaps worst of all, the inability to keep any fluids down. Around 3 a.m., he decided it was time to go to the hospital for treatment, not knowing what to expect having never been to a hospital in Taiwan — a country that has a national health-care system, or as Bozeat wrote, “socialized medicine." He was checked in and given IV fluids within 20 minutes of his arrival. Phlebotomists drew blood and the lab ran tests on it. Hospital techs performed an ultrasound to make sure he didn’t have gallstones or appendicitis. And eventually they diagnosed stomach flu, gave him two prescriptions and discharged him. “Each day since I’ve gotten progressively better and am now pretty much back to normal,” Bozeat wrote. “The bill for the ER visit? . . . US $80.00.” He sarcastically titled his tale “The Horrors of Socialized Medicine,” noting he didn’t even have health insurance — in Taiwan or the United States. If he had Taiwan’s national health insurance, his costs would have been a fraction of $80, he wrote. The post struck a nerve, as debates about health care and whether to move toward “Medicare-for-all” loom over the 2020 presidential race. More than 200,000 people shared it. Taiwan has a single-payer system — meaning the government controls health-care payments, though most of the service providers and hospitals are privatized. Liberal groups and officials are increasingly looking to single-payer systems to address both the United States’ high health-care expenses, and the millions of people who are uninsured. About 17 percent of the United States gross domestic product in 2017 went to health care — nearly twice the average 8.8 percent for other developed countries, according to data cited by Health Affairs. And that number is projected to increase as health-care spending rises to nearly 20 percent of the GDP by 2020, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Bozeat estimated his treatment in the United States, without insurance, would have likely cost thousands of dollars. “But here in Taiwan I was able to receive speedy, quality care comparable to what I would have gotten in a US hospital for relatively small amount of money,” he said. According to a Health Affairs report by Tsung-Mei Cheng, a health policy research analyst at Princeton, Taiwan instituted a single-payer health-care system in 1995. (Cheng’s late husband, Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton economist and health-care expert, had been the one to recommend a single-payer system to the country in the 1980s.) The country is home to about 24 million people and is the world’s 19th-largest economy; 99.9 percent of its residents are enrolled in the national health-care program, regardless of preexisting conditions. “Comprehensive benefits include inpatient and outpatient care, mental health care, prescription drugs, dental care, Chinese medicine, dialysis, and day care for the elderly,” Cheng notes. She continues: “Patients in Taiwan can choose their doctors and hospitals freely, in sharp contrast to the US where patients often have limited choice of both insurers and providers. There is no such thing as in- or out-of-network providers, a distinction which in the US not only restricts patients’ access but also subjects them to vastly different charges. Patients in Taiwan do not receive the “surprise medical bills” that many Americans do after their inpatient- or outpatient treatment. The NHI’s copayments and coinsurance are low, and generous ceilings and exemptions safeguard access to needed care.” About 6.1 percent of the GDP in Taiwan is spent on health care; in the United States, one of the highest levels of a developed country, it’s about 17 percent. In an interview, Cheng gave examples of price disparities between the United States and Taiwan, based on statistics from insurance companies and government agencies. Harvoni, a drug to treat hepatitis C, costs $2,132 for a course of treatment in Taiwan; in the United States, the same amount costs an average of $32,114, she said. An MRI costs $288 in Taiwan; in the United States, it’s $1,119. A C-section costs $1,404 in Taiwan; in the United States, it’s $15,106. Interest in Taiwan’s health-care system has been surging in recent years. Chen said she briefed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on the system and will speak to state lawmakers in California on Friday amid a broader push for universal health care in the state. “People envy [Taiwan’s] system because they’re spending a third of [what] we’re spending,” she said. “It’s very high-performing in terms of cost coverage and benefits. Many, many countries that are looking to cover everyone — they are looking to Taiwan’s model as a guide.” Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the conservative think tank American Action Forum and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said inflated U.S. health-care costs were in part the result of a “pattern of overutilization of some things like excessive testing and underutilization of preventive care.” "You add it all up, it costs a lot,” he said. Holtz-Eakin said a recent study of prices looked at 23 drugs and found they cost 80 percent more in the United States than other places. Still, 11 of those drugs were available in every other country in the study, Holtz-Eakin said. “So one of the prices you pay in another country is you don’t get access to some diagnoses and therapies,” he said. “It’s hard to put a price tag on that.” While a few countries with socialized medicine systems, like Canada and Britain, are known for long wait times for some procedures, Taiwan does not experience this problem, Cheng wrote. She highlighted another significant disparity between the Taiwanese and American health-care systems: administrative costs were much lower in Taiwan than in the United States. (“A staff of fewer than 3,000 administer the NHI for Taiwan’s population of 23.8 million,” she noted.) Bozeat said in a brief direct message exchange that he thought his post had gone viral because it was likely “shocking to most Americans who saw it, particularly the price.” “I received a ton of direct messages and comments from people sharing their higher bills, WITH insurance,” he wrote. “Some people also attacked me and called me a liar. Even though they know nothing about Taiwan or its health care system. Interestingly I received a lot of support from Taiwanese people who thanked me for praising their health care system.” He had followed up the viral post with another with a plea for universal health care. “Taiwan is less wealthy than the US, yet it spends less and gets more out of its healthcare system. We see the same story repeat itself,” he wrote. “This debate is all so tiresome, because there is no debate. Universal healthcare works, it can be done here, it can be done in any country with sufficient resources. All we need is political will and an implementation plan.” (Written by El Rosenberg and provided by The Washington Post on 2019/02/28)

An American got sick in Taiwan...

Tech meets Healthcare in Taiwan


Taiwan is known as the heart of the world’s tech supply chain, offering high-quality products in electronics. Now it is also the key driver of healthcare innovations and training with its leading IT companies accelerating AI, IoT and robotic applications for healthcare and biomedeical sectors. It is exploiting its strengths in IT to be a major global player in healthcare by amalgamating the both. As a result it is a very common sight in Taiwan health sector of robots & machines, 3D image solutions, virtual reality and minimal invasive surgery methods are being used largely in diagnosis, surgeries, procedures and treatments. The technological developments in the healthcare and the other factors like high quality medical services along with competitive pricing making the health services comparatively affordable and national health insurance scheme has put Taiwanese healthcare system in the forefront. Just recently it moved up from the 12th position to the ninth one in Bloomberg’s annual global healthcare efficiency list. All these feature of the Taiwanese healthcare system are attracting patients not only from Taiwan, but also from other countries, particularly from South East Asia. “More than 305,000 foreign patients came to Taiwan to receive medical services, with one third of those from SEA countries,” informed Walter Yeh, President & CEO, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), to a visiting ‘Media Medical Delegation for Taiwan Healthcare 2018’. “TAITRA will continue to promote the highest quality of Taiwanese medical services and technology to see Taiwan as the top choice for international medical service providers in Asia,” Yeh told the delegation which is sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Taiwan (MOHW) and organized by TAITRA. Taiwan’s techno-healthcare amalgamation resulting in cutting edge innovations, leading medical global technology, speciality training facilities, availability of array of healthcare services, the latest medtech equipment was all on display at the Taiwan Healthcare+ Expo which was centred around ‘MedicineXTechnology’ as the key driver. This was the second expo which saw 30% rise in the participation of organisations, from over 1000 to 1358, said Jin Pyng Wang, Chairperson, Taiwan Healthcare Expo Commmittee and Chairman, Research Centre for Biotechnology & Medicine Policy, in his welcome address at the inaugural ceremony of the Expo. In her inaugural address, President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-Wen hoped, “The expo will generate opportunities to tap into international cooperation networks, and create endless possibilities for Taiwan's next-generation healthcare technology industries.” She pointed out that Taiwan's Medical Device Industry is a leader in Asia. Taiwan is the number one exporter of electric wheel chairs in the world, and the second largest exporter of artificial joints in Asia. Jia-chyuan Su, President, Legislative yuan, said Taiwan, a mecca of R&D, is capable of designing new solutions to meet the unsatisfied demands. “It has already done good progress in high end medical products and will continue to divert its technology towards healthcare development. For the first time, government medical industry, commercial industry and private enterprises have come together on a common platform at the expo. The government will continue to support the med tech industry,” he promised. The expo had a special pavilion for the starts-ups to showcase their innovations. It exhibited among others the snapshot hyperspectral image inspection technology and portable, noninvasive blood flwo meter developed by National Chung Shan Institute of Science & Technology; Industrial Technology Research Institute’s (ITRI) portable molecular Diagnostics System; Prolieve as safe and effective treatment option for symptomatic BPH patients; IVD test kit for endometrial cancer. Yeh informed, TAITRA has a start up division to promote start ups and innovations. “We provide a framework and arrange one to one meetings for start ups,” he said. Along with innovations, conducting trainings for doctors from abroad is a key factor of Taiwan healthcare system. The new types of surgeries caused by the technical innovations are attracting surgeons to Taiwan for the trainings in such surgeries. IRCAD Taiwan in the Chang Bin Show Chwan hospital conducts training for doctors from all over the world at its state of the art training facility. In a decade it has trained over 7,000 surgeons in various surgical fields. It has also created an environment for incubation of new medical and surgical technology. It is not only a training centre but also a place for scientific research. Functional direction of IRCAD is two folds. “We wish to continue to working closely with Asian surgical societies and experts to continue providing surgical training. Secondly we hope to continue in the area of surgical innovation and research with an aim to provide the best tools for surgeons to use as we believe in Chinese saying ‘sharp tool make good work,’” said Dr Wayne Huang, Director, IRCAD Taiwan. Its incubation centre has developed the world’s first and only endoscope visualization system, MonoStereo® 3D, with easy-set, easy-alter adjustable 3D effects which overcomes the limitations of conventional 3D systems, providing a new perspective on surgical imaging. “It is the first 3D image system which provides depth perception and spatial view of anatomy, however the 2D function like zooming and rotating are reserved at the same time.” Said Dr. Kai-Che Liu, Director, IRCAD Taiwan’s R&D and Incubation and CEO, MeidcalTek. “It is both Mono and Stereo. You may keep 2D, see 3D.” Dr. Liu explained further. Brain Navi biotech co. which is known for its autopilot for neurosurgery recently released its first medical device NaoTrac, a surgical navigation robot that provides precise GPS like imagery. It uses camera-based computer vision algorithms to estimate 3D geometry and motion during surgeries. With this system surgeons can develop surgery plan with the help of pre-operative imagery and MRI scans of internal body structures. “It makes surgery safer, faster and more accurate. Thanks to this ‘first in human’ robotic surgery Brain Navi reached a significan milestone,” said Dr Chen, CEO, Brain Navi Biotech, when a patient underwent brain surgery with assistance from robot NaoTrac at Tzu Chi hospital in November. A deep brain procedure that takes eight hours would require only eight minutes with new technology, said Dr Chen. Besides innovation and developing health and medical technologies, Taiwan’s healthcare system also gives stress on advanced medical training. ‘Train the trainers’, the slogan of Ministry of Health and Welfare’s booth at the healthcare expo, underlines the importance it attaches to training the doctors in the Taiwan healthcare system. Taiwan International Healthcare Training Center (TIHTC) is a platform that shares Taiwan’s medical advancements to the world and nurtures international healthcare professionals. This can be seen from the fact that there had been nearly 2800 international trainees in Taiwanese hospitals from 2014 to 2018 (till October). About 200 of them were from India. TIHTC not only provides professional training programme but also helps foreign medical professionals to find the most suitable training programme under the TIHTC partner hospitals network, which has 30 partner hospitals. Showcasing the highlights of the Taiwan healthcare system various doctors from different hospitals presented the specialities of their hospitals. “500 cases of heart transplant, highest in Asia, since 1988 and 450 valve replacement implants, largest in South east Asia, have been done in Taiwan,” said Dr Jeng Wai, Director, heart centre, Cheng Hsin hospital. Dr Chee-Chein Yong, Kahosiung Chang Gung Hospital, presented a case of liver transplant and claimed that Gung hospital was the best liver transplant hospital in the world. Lee women’s hospital has gone into the Guinness record book in 2011 for the largest test tube baby gathering as it gathered at one place 1232 test tube babies born in the hospital. One third of IVF babies in Taiwan were made by Lee hospital, claimed Dr Lee Chun-I, CEO. “Video Consultation, trauma centres, DaVinci robotic surgery, hybrid operation rooms are the specialities of the Taiwan hospitals,” said Dr Yen-Chuan, vice superintendent, Tungs’ Taichung Metro Harbor hospital. Dr Ming-Chi Yung, Deputy Director of International Healthcare Centre, Taipei Medical University Hospital, said Taiwan healthcare works on r ‘P’s, (Priority, Painless, Paperless and payless.” Payless is possible due to Taiwan’s effective healthcare insurance system. The health insurance Taiwan provides is comprehensive. Both inpatient and outpatient care are covered, as well as dental care, over-the-counter drugs and traditional Chinese medicine. However, the experts feel Taiwan has an aging population and a low birthrate that will push upward the total cost of care. Taiwan has got a number of hospitals. “It has 600 private hospitals, about 85% of the total, and they provide 70% of healthcare services,’ said Dr Yi-Hong Chu, President, Taiwan Nongovernmental Hospitals and Clinical Association. Taiwan faces problem of growing shortage of doctors and other medical staff. In one hospital the entire section could not be started due shortage of nursing staff. Despite such issues and problems, Taiwan healthcare has many achievements. Its leadership in reconstructive microsurgery and cultivating renowned reconstructive surgeons globally is an asset. “This consolidates Taiwan’s leadership in medical sciences,” concludes Prof Fu-Chan Wei, Researcher, National research centre. (Written by Milind Kokje and provided by BioSpectrum Asia on 2019/01/07)

Tech meets Healthcare in Taiwa...

Taiwan named in top 10 travel destinations 2019 list


Tourists at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei. (By Associated Press) TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Popular travel website has ranked Taiwan 8th in their list of top travel destinations for 2019. Globe Spots characterized Taiwan as “classic travel for great sights and convenient travel.” Sao Tome and Principe was ranked first in the 2019 feature, followed by Belarus, Sweden, and Bhutan. This is the second time that Taiwan has been recognized in the annual list, with the island nation previously named in 2010. The feature described Taiwan as “strikingly unique - and a bit weird,” and noted the island’s diversity, nature and culture. Globe Spots underscored Taiwan’s relatively small size and culinary depth as points of difference. For the first time in a calendar year, over 11 million tourists visited Taiwan in 2018. Taiwan has seen strong tourism growth in recent years, off the back of relaxed visa requirements for citizens of some Southeast Asian nations, as well as growing international prominence of the island as a tourist destination. Globe Spot’s top 10 destinations for 2019 are outlined below: Sao Tome and Principe Belarus Sweden Bhutan Angola Artsakh Mauritius Taiwan Far East Russia Dominican Republic (Written by Scott Morgan and provided by Taiwan News on 2019/01/06 10:47 )

Taiwan named in top 10 travel ...

Taiwania 2 ranked as 20th-most powerful supercomputer in world


Taiwania 2 (Image from NCHC) TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwania 2 has achieved a ranking of 20th in the world, the highest rating for a Taiwan-made supercomputer ever, announced the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) yesterday (Nov. 13). Built by the ministry's National Center for High-Performance Computing (NCHC), Quanta Computer Inc, Asustek Computer Inc, and Taiwan Fixed Network Co., Taiwania 2 has been ranked 20th in the world in the November 2018 edition of the TOP500 List. Taiwania 2 also ranks as the 7th fastest supercomputer in Asia, trailing only two from China, three from Japan, and one from South Korea. The 20th spot taken by Taiwania marks a quantum leap in performance over its predecessor, Taiwania, which only ranked 95th on last year's TOP500 List. The top two spots on the list were taken by the U.S. with its computers Summit and and Sierra, respectively. China took 3rd and 4th with its Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2A, respectively, while Switzerland rounded out the top five with its Piz Daint. Evolution of Taiwan's supercomputers from 1996 to this year. (Image from NCHC) Taiwania 2's computing capacity of 9 quadrillion floating-point operations per second (9 petaFLOPS), only trails supercomputers from the U.S., China, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, France, South Korea, and Italy. Taiwania 2 received an even higher ranking for energy efficiency, seizing 10th place on the Green500 List and is the most energy-saving mainframe computer in Taiwan's history. The Taiwania 2 consists of 252 nodes, each of which contains two CPUs and eight of the most advanced GPUs. Its host architecture design is in line with international trends. Last year, MOST promoted artificial intelligence (AI) as the core of its next generation development model and building an AI cloud computing platform was a very important part of its "AI Small Country Big Strategy" (AI小國大戰略). After seven months of hard work on hardware construction and performance testing Taiwania 2, this phase been completed, and its performance optimization results were successfully submitted for the latest round of the biannual TOP500 List ranking. Listing of Taiwania 2's specifications. (Image from NCHC) Taiwania 2 is slated to be launched in the first half of next year. In addition to utilizing its cloud computing platform to offer fast computing capabilities, large storage space, and a secure network, it will become the largest data marketplace in the country, providing more immediate and convenience services to industry and academia. In the future, 50 percent of the host computer's resources will be provided to government-led intelligent robotics projects, self-driving experiments, and the AI Innovation and Research Center. The AI Innovation and Research Center and other forward-looking projects will be used by academic and research circles. The other half of the computational resources will be allocated to innovative industries, such as financial technology, smart manufacturing, smart medicine/health, and smart cities. (Written by Keoni Everington and provided by Taiwan News on 2018-11-14 14:54 )

Taiwania 2 ranked as 20th-most...

Expats Would Rather Live in Bahrain Than the U.S.


How the mighty have fallen. And fallen again. The appeal of the U.S. as a destination for expatriates slid for the fifth consecutive year, to No. 47 out of 68 countries, dragged down by a steadily deteriorating reputation for safety and a perceived lack of affordable health care. Just five years ago, the U.S. held the fifth slot in the annual Expat Insider survey by Munich-based InterNations, a network of 3.2 million expatriates. The annual survey of more than 18,000 expats representing 178 nationalities covers everything from the cost of education and child care to family life, career prospects and perceptions of safety and political stability. Two-thirds of expats in the U.S. view job opportunities positively, but for the first time America placed among the 15 countries deemed the least safe and secure. Just 17 percent rated the personal safety of their children as “very good,” compared with a global average of 44 percent. Expats are “afraid of gun violence,” said Malte Zeeck, a founder and co-chief executive of InterNations. Bahrain tops the list for the second year in a row. The nation got high rankings for the ease of settling in, among other things. Taiwan gained two spots to move into second place, with strong marks for job prospects and quality of life. Ecuador, where a massive earthquake in 2016 likely affected expat rankings in 2017, leapt from No. 25 to No. 3, showing improvement in just about every category. The United Kingdom also tumbled this year, falling from No. 21 to No. 59 on the list. Expats cited a high cost of living, with 47 percent considering that a potential negative before moving. (Thirty-eight percent of U.K. expats live in London, a notoriously expensive city.) And, yes, the weather got poor marks, with just 3 percent rating it as “very good,” which affected the country’s No. 64 ranking for personal happiness. If a new measure for digital life had not been added to the survey’s quality of life questions, the U.S. and the U.K. would have fared even worse in the overall ranking. Expats in both countries said it was easy to get unfettered high-speed digital access at home and to pay without cash, earning the U.S. the 10-highest spot on this measure and the U.K. the No. 15 rank. High marks for digital life also helped lift Israel to No. 22 in the overall ranking, up from No. 44. Hong Kong trailed Myanmar, Russia and China with its overall ranking of 56. That’s a big decline from its standing at No. 33 last year. The special administrative enclave of China was dragged down by poor scores for work-life balance and cost of living. The average full-time work week in Hong Kong was 46.8 hours, compared with a global average of 44 hours. There were some bright spots for the Asian tiger: Seventy-nine percent of expats were positive on Hong Kong’s economy, compared with 69 percent the prior year, and the country won the top ranking on transportation infrastructure. There were 66.2 million expatriates worldwide in 2017, according to a July research report by market researcher Finaccord. The company forecasts that the expat population will climb to 87.5 million by 2021. (News written by Suzanne Woolley and provided by Bloomberg on 2018-09-06 15:00 )

Expats Would Rather Live in Ba...

Taiwan Unveils Latest Medical Inventions to Advance Science During FIME in Orlando


NEWS PROVIDED BYTAITRA Taiwan Trade Center Miami Jul 20, 2018, 08:45 ET ORLANDO, Fla., July 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Health Execs, physicians and diplomats were awed by the new medical devices presented by three Taiwanese companies that will enhance surgeon skills, accurately detect thyroid cancer and relieve patient bed sores. "Taiwan Medical Marvels" was the theme of this international press conference and products launch held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando during the Florida International Medical Expo (FIME), one of the largest medical trade shows in North America. Dr. Min-Liang Wang, inventor and CEO of Taiwan Main Orthopedics Co., Ltd., introduced a type of smart surgical glasses befittingly named Caduceus, using revolutionary technology which combines mixed reality with surgical navigation. Caduceus allows surgeons to see through a patient's body and visualize a 3D model of the anatomy of the patient's organs. Surgeons can see the exact position of the needle insertion without ever removing their eyes off of the patient to look at any other instrumentation. "These glasses can be thought of as X-ray glasses," said Dr. Wang, who is also an Assistant Professor in the school of Electrical and Computing Engineering at Taiwan's National Chung Cheng University. Wearing the glasses during his presentation, he explained why the response to his invention has been so overwhelming. "This technology comes from real clinical trials. Surgeons really need the advanced technology, especially during complicated surgeries like spinal surgery. Caduceus allows the surgical time to be shortened and the radiation exposure to be diminished, which benefits the patients and the physicians," he said. According to Dr. Wang, Caduceus surgical smart glasses will be available in January of 2019. AmCad BioMed also introduced the audience to another medical technique to increase the diagnostic acumen of medical professionals regarding thyroid nodules. AmCAD-UT® Detection is the world's first Ultrasound CAD developed to accurately detect thyroid cancer, one of most common cancers in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. According to presenter James Lee, Vice President of AmCad BioMed, this new screening and imaging tool increases the quantification and visualization of the characteristics of thyroid nodules. By doing this non-invasive technique, it helps in the accurate detection and differentiation of thyroid nodules. Patients undergoing AmCAD-UT® Detection had significantly lower screening recall rates, fifty percent less need for FNA and thirty percent less thyroidectomies. Lastly, Gustavo Kao, Manager of the Latin America Department of Apex Medical, unveiled an ingenious solution to alleviate bed sores. DOMUS 3 is an alternating overlay/replacement system combined with static therapy mode. It relieves pressure on the patient's skin by alternatively deflating and inflating the mattress to create balanced pressure effect. This device reduces the frequency of medical staff having to move the patient to reduce bed sores. David Chien, Director General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami, gave opening remarks. Dr. Antonia Novello, the first female and first Hispanic former Surgeon General of the United States served as the moderator and commentator of the press conference. Alejandro Pezzini, CEO of AMP Group hosted Taiwan Medical Marvels.

Taiwan Unveils Latest Medical ...
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