Pharmaceutical News
Cloud-based medical record system reduces quarterly drug fees by NT$1.3b

Reported by Lee Jun-Hao from Taipei

The cloud-based medical record system is established to prevent the risk of polypharmacy.  This system has proved effective as it reduced the quarterly drug fees by NT$1.3b since its establishment in July last year.  Dr Chang Jin-Shi and Dr Tsai Rei-Ban, both working in the primary care sector, expressed that the cloud-based medical record system is able to monitor patients’ medication records, hence prevents patients from collecting the same medications from different clinics or pharmacies.  Dr Hsu Hui-Hung, Vice Superintendent of the Taichung VGH, pointed out that through this cloud-based system doctors are able to access the prescriptions issued by other doctors.  This will encourage peer supervision and further protect patients’ medication safety. 

The NHIA held a ceremony to award the creative applications of the cloud-based medical record system.  The winners are Taichung VGH, Changhua Christian Hospital, Yee-Zen Hospital and a mobile medical team formed by 3 primary care clinics in Tainan touring around rural areas.  Wang Ben-Jen of the NHIA expressed that since the establishment of the system in July last year, all medical centers and regional hospitals, 90% of the district hospitals and over 3000 clinics have subscribed to the system.  Compared with the figures in the same period last year, drug fees in Q3 this year were reduced by NT$1.3 billion. 

Now, doctors are able to access patients’ medical records up to 3 months ago when providing health services for them.  The system recently added a “batch download” function which allows hospitals to download patients’ records in advance and links the record to the hospital’s prescription alert system.  Wang Ben-Jen expressed that a prescription alert system is widely available in many big hospitals.  The alert system will detect the risk of polypharmacy and alert doctors to the risk.  However, Wang stressed that patients’ written consent is required prior to the use of the “batch download” function.  In order to protect patients’ privacy, the NHI IC cards are required to access the data in the system.  

Through the system, doctors are able to read the prescriptions issued by their peers.  It may cause disputes over treatment methods.  Dr Hsu Hui-Hung expressed that doctors should explain their treatment strategies to patients in details in order to avoid confusion.  Dr Hsu reckoned that the system opens the door to peer supervision which will improve medication quality.  

Chang Jin-Shi of the NHIA pointed out that cross checking patients’ medical records and their test results may help find out those who have been using drugs bought from illegal channels, such as underground radio stations. 

Dr Tsai Rei-Ban revealed that it is quite common in rural areas that elderly patients take 6 or 7 drugs at the same time.  Doctors now are able to check patients’ medications by accessing the data in the system rather than by just asking patients. The cloud-based medical record system is especially useful for the control of medications for chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.  It also helps control the use of sleeping pills and sedatives.  The cloud technology means that the access to data is available even when doctors or pharmacists are out and about visiting patients in their own home.
【2014-12-15 / Taiwan Awakening News】