Mask Rationing System Using PharmaCloud

Mask Rationing System Using PharmaCloud

Mask Rationing System Using PharmaCloud 411 308 WeGO

Mask Rationing System Using PharmaCloud

Taiwan

The Taiwanese government started a rationing system to cope with a face mask shortage caused by coronavirus fears. Under the rationing system, anyone can buy disposable surgical masks on Sundays at designated drugstores and pharmacies upon presentation of their National Health Insurance (NHI) cards, while on the other days of the week, sales are staggered based on the last digit of the ID number on the buyer’s NHI card. The NHIA was equipped with strong cloud computing capabilities, making it possible for NHI-contracted pharmacies across the country to track the purchasing history of people buying masks under the rationing system. In addition, the government released NHI data about pharmacy locations, enabling several private citizens with IT skills to create application programming interfaces (APIs) that show data on pharmacy locations and mask stocks. The collaborative efforts between the government and civic society on the mask rationing program is expected to serve as a model that could be used in future endeavors. Moreover, an online ordering mechanism will soon be added to the name-based rationing system to better ensure even distribution and make it more convenient to obtain face masks. The mechanism will allow people to order at a designated website using their NHI card or Citizen Digital Certificate or through the NHI app.

FEATURES

  • Under the rationing system, anyone can buy disposable surgical masks at designated drugstores and pharmacies upon presenting their National Health Insurance (NHI) cards.
  • In order to diminish the number of people swarming stores, those with NHI cards that end with odd numbers are restricted to purchasing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; while, those whose cards end with even numbers are limited to buying masks on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Both are allowed to make purchases on Sundays.
  • By digitally scanning the NHI card, pharmacies can quickly see the customer’s mask purchase history, which ensures that the quota of two masks per week per person is being maintained.
  • An online ordering mechanism will soon be added to the name-based rationing system to better ensure even distribution and make it more convenient to obtain face masks. The mechanism will allow people to order at a designated website using their NHI card or Citizen Digital Certificate or through the NHI app.

ONGOING RESULTS

  • Anyone can purchase face masks at a cheap price. A face mask costs NT$ 5 (USD 0.16).
  • The CECC estimates that 2.33 million people can purchase about seven million masks over the course of a week.
  • Online ordering system is expected to help the problem of long queues.
  • Many countries including South Korea have benchmarked the idea and are rolling out mask rationing systems to cope with face mask shortage.

 

Sources: Taiwan News, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Focus Taiwan