CURRENT STATUS OF LABORATORY MEDICINE IN TAIWAN
School of Medical Technology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
The regular education program for medical laboratory science (MLS) students was established in Taiwan when the first four-year bachelor degree program of MLS started in the School of Medical Technology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University in 1956. In 1997, nine universities or colleges provide four-year programs and four medical junior colleges run five-year programs for the teaching and training of medical technologists in Taiwan. In addition, two universities run MLS related master programs. The three-year programs previously provided by medical high schools for medical technicians were suspended since l986. There are currently about 15,000 university and medical junior college MLS graduates. After passing the licentiate examinations held by the Government, one can register in the Department of Health as a medical technologist or a medical technician. There were 4,664 registered medical technologists and 370 registered medical technicians at year end of 1996, serving 773 hospitals, 15,872 clinics and 630 private clinical laboratories in Taiwan. Accounting the population in Taiwan area, there are 2.17 medical technologists and 0.17 medical technician in practice per 10,000 populations. Among the 4,664 medical technologists, 3,460 (74.19%), 695 (14.90%), 359 (7.7%) and 150 (3.21%) are working in hospitals, private clinical laboratories, clinics and other medical related institutes respectively. There are several MLS related associations founded in Taiwan. The Chinese Society of Medical Technologists is the professional association consisted of over 5,000 members. All practising medical technologists must hold membership of this Society. The Association of Laboratory Medicine (»2,000 members) and the Association for Clinical Biochemistry (»300 members) are academic societies. Journal of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, Bulletin of Association of Laboratory Medicine, The Newsletter of Chinese Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Bulletin of Chinese Society of Medical Technologists are official publications of these associations. Accreditation of hospital clinical laboratories has started since 1990 and accreditation of private clinical laboratories started in 1995. However, the accreditation of private clinical laboratories is on a voluntary basis. As of December 1996, a total of 538 hospital laboratories and 320 private laboratories were accredited. The external quality control program (proficiency testing) has been granted and started since 1986. The quality of laboratory performance is improving over the last several years. The "Rule of Medical Laboratory Employees" is the only official regulation for the administration of laboratory medicine in Taiwan area. The draft of "Medical Technologists Act" has been put forward to the Legislation Yuan. It will be completed and set up in the near future.
Copyright 1997 Hong Kong Medical Technology Association .
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