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Review of telemedicine projects in Taiwan.

Taiwan is a heavily populated country, with a small land area and many mountains and isolated islands. Because medical resources are unequally distributed, high quality accessible medical care is a major problem in rural areas. Medical personnel are unwilling to practice in rural areas because of fear of isolation from peers and lack of continuing medical education (CME) in those areas. Telemedicine provides a timeless and spaceless measure for teleconsultation and education. The development of telemedicine in Taiwan began under the National Information Infrastructure (NII) Project. Distance education and teleconsultation were the first experimental projects during the initiation research stage. The cost and effectiveness of the hardware and network bandwidth were evaluated. In the promotion research stage, applications in different medical disciplines were tested to promote multipoint videoconference, electronic journals and VOD. Investigation of user satisfaction put on more emphasis on improving application functions. In 1998, a new Cyber Medical Center (CMC) international collaboration project was begun, integrating technologies of multimedia, networking, database management, and the World Wide Web. The aim of the CMC is to create a multimedia network system for the management of electronic patient records, teleconsultation, online continuing medical education, and information services on the web. A Taiwan mirror site of Virtual Hospital and two international telemedicine trials through Next Generation Internet (NGI) were done at the end of 1998. In the future, telemedicine systems in Taiwan are expected to combine the Internet and broadband CATV, ADSL, and DBS networking to connect clinics, hospitals, insurance organizations, and public health administrations; and, finally, to extend to every household.[1]


  1. Review of telemedicine projects in Taiwan. Chen, H.S., Guo, F.R., Chen, C.Y., Chen, J.H., Kuo, T.S. International journal of medical informatics. (2001) [Pubmed]
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