APEC smart health care conference wraps up in Taipei

MOHW Deputy Minister Ho Chi-kung (front, sixth right) and HPA Director-General Wang Ying-wei (front, fifth right) are joined by local and foreign academics, experts and officials in giving the thumbs-up to the APEC conference on smart health care April 30 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of HPA)
MOHW Deputy Minister Ho Chi-kung (front, sixth right) and HPA Director-General Wang Ying-wei (front, fifth right) are joined by local and foreign academics, experts and officials in giving the thumbs-up to the APEC conference on smart health care April 30 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of HPA)
 
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference on smart health care for noncommunicable diseases wrapped up May 1 in Taipei City, strengthening regional collaboration in using information and communication technology to tackle major public health threats.
 
Organized by the Health Promotion Administration under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the APEC Conference on Smart Healthcare for NCDs and Their Risk Factors Prevention and Control brought together about 200 academics, experts and officials from 12 countries and territories.
 
Discussions focused on emerging strategies for preventing and treating illnesses like breast cancer and diabetes. Other topics explored at the two-day event spanned implementing an age-friendly society as well as bolstering patient engagement and medical services through artificial intelligence, behavioral sensing and wearable devices.
 
Keynote speakers included Dr. Chen Ray-jade, superintendent of Taipei Medical University Hospital; Nam Han Cho, president of the International Diabetes Federation; and George Demiris, a biobehavioral health sciences professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
 
According to HPA Director-General Wang Ying-wei, the conference aimed to boost regional exchanges in employing ICT solutions to detect risk factors of chronic diseases. It also provided an opportunity to spotlight the latest innovations from Taiwan’s cutting-edge biotechnology sector, such as a diagnostic machine for diabetic retinopathy, he added.
 
This marks the first time Taiwan has hosted an APEC chronic diseases conference. Taiwan is committed to sharing its experiences and know-how in using technology to address health challenges like diabetes, the HPA said.
 
Taiwan has achieved notable success in tackling this disease in recent years. The standardized mortality rate for diabetes fell to 23.5 per 100,000 people in 2017 from 37.1 in 2012.
 
This was accomplished through such measures as a pay-for-performance program, which offers financial incentives to medical institutions that achieve diabetes treatment standards and goals, as well as a mobile app providing a comprehensive health monitoring service for diabetes patients, the HPA said.