Chip on NHI card

I went to the dentist for the first time in Taiwan yesterday. Receptionist took my NHI card, wrote the details down in a notebook, cross referenced something from some other folder full of paper, stared at a computer screen for about 3-4 minutes checking some other details, then returned my card.

No issue with the process, smaller surgeries may not all have the tech, I get it, but can anyone tell me, what is the chip used for on the NHI health card?

I think it just contains your number and a few other information. Kinda like ATM cards.

The chip is also used for identification and allows access to NHI database in order to lookup your recent medical history.

You can also use it to pay taxes.

Do they have the technology to read it at your average doctor/dental surgery?

Your cars includes your medical records.

So anyone I was to give this card to, say for example a life insurer, would have access to my medical records? Is handing it over an implicit permission for someone to access my data?

The information is not stored on the card as the storage space on the card is small. It is likely that only your ID number and possibly name are stored on the card for ID purposes.

The medical information is stored on the NHI servers and is only available to places that have been granted access by NHI. That would be hospitals, doctors, dentists etc. I would expect there should be restrictions on what data they can see depending on what sort of doctor they are.

I have no idea of whether a life insurer has access to the NHI database, I would think they should not.

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I think personal information privacy laws are quite strong here. For example you can’t google any Taiwanese to find out if he’s been in jail. Those information is strictly confidential and trying to access it without consent (like getting a cop buddy to look someone up for you) is a crime.

Same if insurance investigators try to gain unauthorized access to NHI database to find out if you have certain chronic illness.

Right, the chip is just a means of verifying the authenticity of the NHI card, as opposed to holding some private key into the NHI database.

Sounds like user access into the NHI database is centrally maintained with a human in the loop, that must be quite the headache to maintain. There are like 100 surgeries on the high street near my place alone…

Yeah it is a bit of a watch this space on these medical databases. Once they have mapped the entire human genome, and genetic testing becomes mass market, these databases will become very valuable to a lot of people. Question for you now, not specific to Taiwan, do you entrust, in the future, a government department, with an unenthusiastic IT team who haven’t had a raise in 5 years, to properly secure and maintain all your health data? :slight_smile:

I think this sort of risk is less so in countries with a universal healthcare system. This sort of issue will be a big deal in the USA where private insurance is king and they can pick and choose who they cover and at what cost.

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