Pharmaceutical News
NHI data will be available for researches

Reported by Chiang Rei-Chi from Taipei

The analysis of a single large set of data (Big Data) has become a new trend.  The Executive Yuan has been holding cross-departmental meetings to discuss the possibility of making NHI data available for researches into the promotion of the nation’s health.  New laws will be made to protect patients’ privacy and medical records.

From next year, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) is going to fund the “NHI Big Data Analysis Project” run by the Academia Sinica.  This project will usher Taiwan into the era of big data analysis.  The Executive Yuan will refer to the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” implemented in the US and formulate a new law to ensure the protection of patients’ privacy and medical records.  The new law will clearly stipulate that businesses should give the NHI a certain amount of their profits from the commercial use of the research results.

Chang San-Cheng, Minister of the MOST, has long been campaigning for the use of NHI data which include the medical information of 99% of the population in Taiwan.  Chang reckoned that the dataset contains important information which is useful for improving the NHI system and promoting the nation’s health.  Officials of the MOST stressed that the use of the NHI big data will be restricted to researches concerning the public interests only.

Chien Chung-Liang, Deputy Minister of the MOST, expressed that the “NHI Big Data Analysis Project” proposed by Chen Chien-Jen, Vice President of the Academia Sinica, has been approved by the MOST.  The MOST will allocate NT$50 million to this project from next year.

As for the issue of privacy protection concerned by many human right groups, Chien Chung-Liang stressed that the use of big data will not include personal data.  Researchers are not allowed to carry out analysis on individual cases.  Access to the data will be tightly controlled.

The Executive Yuan, the MOST and the MOHW have been discussing the use of the NHI data and the measures for protecting personal data.  Officials expressed that the MOHW has already established a committee to set out the requirements of research protocols. The Committee also includes legal and human right experts.

The NHI big data will be managed by the MOHW.  The data set includes data from the NHIA, the HPA and the CDC.  The data can only be accessed at certain locations designated by the authority.  The Executive Yuan will make a new law to protect personal data and to regulate the monetary contribution to the NHI from any commercial use of relevant research results.

【2014-08-12 / Economic Daily】