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Looking New Trends – Digital Health

With almost all of the ICT and electronic corporates in Taiwan diversifying into the biomedical sector, Taiwan's medical industry is anticipated to be quickly transformed by this revolutionary wave of digital health to a new era of intelligent healthcare. By leveraging and integrating Taiwan's expertise in medical technologies and healthcare system with ICT and electronics, the new biomedical industry will soon emerge as one of the key drivers to boost Taiwan's economy.

Looking New Trends – Digital Health
The information and communications technology (ICT) industry has been the key economic engine for Taiwan in the past 50 years. This industry is now dramatically changing the healthcare industry by integrating advanced IT technologies with the latest medical applications, realizing the concept of future hospital and smart care. It is expected to bring great synergistic impact to the emerging biomedical industry in Taiwan. Here, a brief introduction to the recent diversification of Taiwan's major ICT and electronics manufacturers into healthcare is summarized below.
 
Foxconn
 
Foxconn's healthcare business group, YongLin Biotech Corp., has been investing in the R&D of innovative technologies centered around comprehensive full-time care, hospitals of the future, precision medicine, radiotherapy, and cancer immunotherapy.
 
To realize comprehensive full-time care, Foxconn integrates various hardware and software to collect physiological data within an innovative health management platform. Such system allows medical experts to provide immediate consultations. Moving forward to build hospitals of the future, Foxconn adopts a patient-centered approach to drive innovative IT developments through a variety of smart devices. With the company's dedication and progress, the concept of smart hospital in the so-called “Medicine 4.0” can be expected in no time.
In precision medicine, Foxconn is combining molecular biology detection technologies with cutting-edge diagnosis platforms such as microfluidic chip-based systems to integrate physiological data with health data banks. The massive amount of data is subsequently processed through high-performance computing centers and big data analytics infrastructure to extract the key information. In addition, Foxconn is collaborating with Zap Surgical System, a US based company, to develop the next generation radiosurgical instrument featuring self-shield design and real-time monitoring of exit dose. It allows for image-guided radiosurgery with steeper dose gradient, shorter installation time, and more efficient treatment workflow. The successful development is expected to bring better outcomes in radiosurgery treatments.
 
In 2016, Foxconn's charity arm, YongLin Healthcare Foundation, singed a collaborative agreement with NantWorks' healthcare group and the National Taiwan University's Cancer Center to form a global anti-cancer alliance. The partnership is part of the “Cancer MoonShot 2020 project to promote immunotherapy for cancer. The team also plans to perform big data analysis on Chinese genetic data in search of oncogenes and advance towards preventive medicine and personalized treatment.
 

Asus
 
Asus has been involved in developing healthcare solutions since 2012. For the public, Asus assisted the Ministry of Health and Welfare to develop a healthcare cloud platform to provide the public with cloud-based health management services. Currently, it is actively integrating all health care hardware into its Zenbo robot to include third-party developed blood pressure monitors and wearable devices. Zenbo can further serve as a hospital assistant in conducting health surveys and educating the public with basic medical knowledge.
 
For hospitals, it focuses on cloud-based electronic health record (HER)/personal health record (PHR) to assist hospitals during this age of digital transformation. Its OmniCare platform integrates a variety of smart medical devices with big data to provide continuous physiological monitoring and point-of-care solutions. PhenoFinder is another platform that assists hospitals in connecting with an international network of clinical trials to accelerate clinical trial developments. Asus is further partnering with IBM to combine IBM Watson's cognitive computing technology with its platform to launch the Virtual CareCoordinator Healthbot. In the first phase, Healthbot shall provide diabetic patients with precise and personalized medical services and assist patients in making medical appointments, medical inquiries, and disease management with online chat bots and graphical data analysis.
 
Acer
 
In 2015, Acer established the BeingNet Alliance with Advantech, Hiwin, EBM Technologies, and IBM Cloud to develop BeingWare and BYOC to expand the application of big data and smart medicine. It has already partnered with Changhua Christian Hospital's Remote Consultation Center and introduced the aBeing Wellness smart health management platform for remote healthcare. Through wireless health assessment equipment or wearable devices, the physiological data of the users can be collected, thus enabling instant health monitoring and telemedicine services to patients with chronic illnesses. 
 
Moreover, Acer has combined the application of AI with big data to develop the health assessment system, VeriSee, which is capable of performing rapid screening of diabetic retinopathy with deep learning technology, a big move towards preventive medicine.
 
Quanta
 
Quanta has been investing in telemedicine since 2015 and markets its connected health solutions such as remote healthcare, bedside care, and cloud computing conference systems under the brand of QOCA® (Quanta Omni Cloud Care). QOCA® spt (smart patient terminal) is a smart bedside care system that allows patients to communicate with medical staff instantaneously and assists hospitals in integrating medical data to optimize the quality of medical services. QOCA® home is a remote healthcare system designed for the elderly and chronic patients that allows medical staff to inspect patients' statuses remotely. In the future, Quanta plans to enhance its platforms' capabilities by integrating AI systems.
 
LiteOn
 
In 2011, LiteOn established its biomedical division to target diagnostic testing products, and subsequently developed a veterinary biochemical analyzer in 2013. In 2014, its new life sciences brand, Skyla, launched a clinical analyzer for human. In 2016, the company further introduced the point-of-care glycated hemoglobin analyzer and established an overseas biotechnology R&D center in Singapore. Recently, the company announced a partnership with National Tsing Hua University, and further developments focusing on wearable devices and big data applications can be expected in the near future.
 
Largan Precision
 
Largan Precision has already entered the medical equipment market since 2004, with its subsidiary Largan Medical mainly focusing on developing contact lenses. In 2017, Largan Precision invested in Largan Health Technology to specialize in ECG physiological signal analysis and processing. Its ECG device allows instantaneous transmission of ECG information to the monitoring system over long periods of time via the cloud, and has received FDA approval in both China and the US in June 2017. The ECG device is capable of monitoring sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), calculating apnea-hypopnea index, measuring heart rate variability, and assessing sleep quality.
 
Delta
 
Delta's biomedical division, Delbio, leverages its expertise in optical engineering to develop optical biomedical products. It has already developed a veterinary x-ray stationary. In early 2017, it further introduced the first made in Taiwan micro CT, DELPet-μCT, that is capable of providing high resolution CT scans for animals in pre-clinical studies. The device is expected to contribute to the R&D of basic medicine, new drug development, and translational medicine.
 
Qisda
 
With its strong capabilities in system integration, telecommunications, and user interface developments, Qisda focuses on the design and manufacture of a wide range of medical equipment. Qisda Healthcare Solutions has been developing diagnostic ultrasound, hemodialyzer, continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) machine, and devices for telecare. Recently, the company started to focus on medical robots for applications in hospitals. This year, it introduced MiBot, a medical robot for carrying surgical wastes, to a few hospitals in Taiwan. In the future, Qisda plans to continue its development of medical robots for diagnosis, healthcare, and surgery.
 
With almost all of the ICT and electronic corporates in Taiwan diversifying into the biomedical sector, Taiwan's medical industry is anticipated to be quickly transformed by this revolutionary wave of digital health to a new era of intelligent healthcare. By leveraging and integrating Taiwan's expertise in medical technologies and healthcare system with ICT and electronics, the new biomedical industry will soon emerge as one of the key drivers to boost Taiwan's economy.
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