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NCKU initiates health data analysis strategic alliance

Tainan, Taiwan, June 10, 2013

The National Cheng Kung University Research Center for Health Data (NCKU RCHD) has initiated the Southern Region Health Data Analysis Strategic Alliance to provide more detailed and accurate public health data as well as medical care services by gathering experts in the southern region of Taiwan and fully utilizing the functions of the center.

This strategic alliance will integrate the resources of universities and medical institutions in the southern region of Taiwan to enhance the quality and quantity of health data research.

NCKU Executive Vice President Dr. Huey-Jen Jenny Su was responsible for convening new members for this newly formed strategic alliance. She pointed out that in the near future, universities and medical institutions in the southern Taiwan region will also be welcomed to join the strategic alliance.

The list of members includes NCKU, Chang-Jung University, Chimei Medical Center, Chia-Yi Christian Hospital, Chiayi Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital.

“There are many experienced academic experts and data analysis specialists in the southern region, who are scattered in different hospitals and universities,” revealed Dr. Su. “However, hospitals and universities have limited resources.”

Based on the ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’, the NCKU Research Center for Health Data (NCKU RCHD) initiated the Southern Region Health Data Analysis Strategic Alliance with the hope of building a communication and collaboration platform in order to provide medical researchers and teaching staff consultation services, thus enhancing the overall quality of medical and health care service research.

Professor Dr. Robert Tsung-Hsueh Lu from the NCKU Department of Public Health explained that NCKU RCHD was established by the Taiwanese Department of Health in 2009 to integrate health-related data and information of Taiwan’s population, including database on birth notification, national health insurance, cancer registry and death statistics, in view of providing different databases and analytical services.

NCKU RCHD has enabled medical and health care researchers in the southern region to carry out health data research. To ensure that these researchers have a clear understanding of the services and functions of RCHD, this strategic alliance was formed by NCKU.

“From 2000 onwards, the National Health Research Institute (NHRI) has made national health insurance data available to academic units and published numerous valuable journal papers in this regard,” Dr. Lu added.

“However, there are limitations to using only national health insurance database for research purposes as these data cannot be connected to death statistics, cancer registry and other databases, thus unable to understand patients’ prognosis and stages of cancer.”

While carrying out data analysis, RCHD can connect national health insurance data to other data files such as death statistics, cancer registry, notification of birth and others.

Through the connection of different data, health data research will become more comprehensive and more complete. For example, tracing whether low birth weight newborns suffer from complications, disabilities, diseases or death, as well as creating a valuable disease forecasting model simultaneously will provide clinical decision-makers vital information for reference.
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