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CMAJ. 2010 April 20; 182(7): 699.
PMCID: PMC2855923

Smart health care reform

Re: “No more dithering on e-health: let’s keep patients safe instead.”1 Taiwan launched a nationwide Health Smart Card project in 2002 to help reduce fraud, facilitate electronic claims and improve health care quality. The 80 000 authenticated card readers in the health care facilities were connected through a secure digital network to the National Health Insurance data centre. There are two versions of the card — one for citizens, one for professionals — and they are used mainly to track access to care of the insured. But they are also used to store such data as prescriptions, medical procedures, vaccinations and allergies, and are a flag for organ donation willingness.2 As a result, health care providers can use the card as a powerful tool to retain continuity of care. It is almost like a personal and portable electronic health record summary.



1. McGrail K, Law M, Hébert PC. No more dithering on e-health: let’s keep patients safe instead. CMAJ. 2010;182:535. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Hsu MH, Yen JC, Chiu WT, et al. Using health smart cards to check drug allergy history: The perspective from Taiwan’s experiences. J Med Syst. doi: 10.1007/s10916-009-9391-5. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

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