Taipei--The National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) said Monday that it will more closely monitor diagnostic testing of patients to avoid abuse of the country's health care resources.
NHIA Director General Lee Po-chang (???) said that as part of the effort, his agency last month implemented a cloud-based system that generates a popup notice on the doctor's computer to show what tests the patient has had over the most recent six-month period.
This is to help avoid unnecessary repetition of tests such as computer tomography (CT scans), ultrasound examinations, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), he said.
Lee cited the example of a patient who visited seven hospitals and had 24 CT scans after suffering a head injury in a car accident last year.
The scans cost the NHIA NT$100,000 (US$3,320) in health insurance payments, Lee said, stressing that such unnecessary testing must be reduced.
According to NHIA statistics, the 20 most expensive tests last year covered by health insurance payment cost NT$68.8 billion.
In 2016, the five most costly tests were CT scans (NT$9.2 billion), ultrasound examinations (NT$9 billion), MRIs (NT$5.8 billion), cardiac enzyme and blood lipid tests (NT$5.5 billion) and pathological examinations (NT$3.6 billion), according to the data.
Health insurance payments for MRIs had increased 346.1 percent, from NT$1.3 billion to NT$5.8 billion, in the period 1998 to 2016, the data showed.
NHIA payments for CT scans, meanwhile, rose 196.7 percent, from NT$3.1 billion to NT$9.2 billion, over the same period, according to the statistics.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel