2008-2018: 10th anniversary of IRCAD Taiwan – An exportation model of French excellence worldwide

June 18, 2018

On June 10, 2018, Professor Jacques MARESCAUX, President of IRCAD, and Mr. Min Ho Huang, President of Chang Bing Show Chwan Memorial Hospital and Founder of IRCAD Taiwan, celebrated with splendor the tenth anniversary of IRCAD Taiwan, the first offshoot of the Strasbourg Institute overseas, in the presence of Mr. William Lai, Prime Minister of Taiwan, Mr. Benoît Guidée, Director of the French Office in Taipei, the main industrial partners of IRCAD, and many international expert surgeons who took part in this event.

In 10 years, 7 000 surgeons from 60 different countries have been trained to the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques in Taiwan, supervised by 1 800 international expert surgeons.

IRCAD Taiwan is based on the same concept as IRCAD Strasbourg and equipped with the most sophisticated technologies, and has positioned itself as the biggest educational institution in minimally invasive surgery in Asia.

IRCAD France assumes the scientific responsibility of research and training at IRCAD Taiwan, while its Taiwanese partner is accountable for the logistic and organizational management of the on-site courses.

Professor Jacques Marescaux is delighted with the success of IRCAD Taiwan, ‘which managed to export the excellence of French surgery to Asia. We owe this success to the charismatic personality and professional vision of President Huang who put a lot of effort to achieve progress in Taiwanese surgical practice for the benefit of patients. For instance, in 2008, when IRCAD Taiwan opened its doors, only 20% of surgical operations were performed using the minimally invasive approach in 8 hospitals run by Professor Huang. In 2018, 75% of surgical procedures were performed using a minimally invasive approach in his hospitals. My colleagues and I feel extremely proud to contribute to the improvement of surgical standards, both at IRCAD France where 5 700 surgeons are trained annually, and at IRCAD Taiwan’.

A biocluster to attract startups and industrial partners

During the anniversary ceremony, the Taiwanese Prime Minister announced that he would provide IRCAD Taiwan with a surface of 30 to 50 hectares in order to create a medical biocluster. Based on the same model as IRCAD France and as Strasbourg’s IHU, this biocluster aims to attract industrial companies and startups in the sphere of minimally invasive surgery in the very close vicinity of IRCAD.

Additionally, Mr. Chen Shih-chung, Taiwan’s Health Minister, whom Professor Marescaux met on this occasion, confirmed his determination to boost the industrial area situated around IRCAD Taiwan and to develop training programs primarily for two neighboring countries–the Philippines (104 million inhabitants) and Malaysia (32 million inhabitants). A close collaboration between the Ministries of Health of these 3 countries will make it possible to train more surgeons from the Philippines and Malaysia.

Research and technology transfer

Over the last 10 years, several startups have been created as an extension of research programs led at IRCAD Taiwan, in surgical robotics with the launch of a robot used to guide the surgical camera, and in medical imaging with a software program which makes it possible to instantaneously transform High-Definition 2D images into 3D images intraoperatively.

An outstanding partnership with Siemens Healthineers was initiated in the same vein as the one that the IRCAD France established with the Institute of Image-Guided Surgery (Strasbourg’s IHU). A case in point is the hybrid operating room equipped with the ‘Artis Zeego’, a robotic 3D imaging system, which will be used for the benefit of patients, along with a hybrid experimental operating room dedicated to research and education.

In the field of Artificial Intelligence, IRCAD Taiwan partnered with ASUS, the computer software giant, which will provide the institute with 200 research and development engineers who will work on improving the diagnosis and therapeutic strategy in medicine.

By 2019, IRCAD Taiwan plans to have created a subsidiary of Visible Patient, the offshoot of IRCAD France, which offers an online patient 3D modeling platform. This extension of Visible Patient will be established within the biocluster.

Benoît Guidée, Director of the French Office in Taipei, considers that ‘IRCAD Taiwan is the best project of scientific cooperation between France and Taiwan in the fields of research and education’.

International development of IRCAD

After the opening of the first counterpart IRCAD Institute in Taiwan in 2008, followed by a third center in Sao Paulo in Brazil in 2011, Rio in 2017, and Beirut in 2018, IRCAD will open a fifth center in Kigali, Rwanda in 2019 to train surgeons of all African countries to new cutting-edge minimally invasive surgical techniques.