FRIDAY, April 19, 2024

BDMS revolutionises healthcare with multi-billion baht investment in AI

BDMS revolutionises healthcare with multi-billion baht investment in AI

Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS) is among several healthcare providers in Thailand that are leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) across various patient touchpoints.

With an investment of 1.5 billion baht over the past few years, BDMS is spearheading the integration of AI technology to enhance diagnosis and patient care, BDMS vice president Dr Patcharin Boonyarungsun said.

Among the ventures BDMS supports is CARIVA, a startup that focuses on personalised and precision healthcare through AI. CARIVA’s offerings include AI interpretation of lab tests, genomics and disease diagnosis.

Since April 2023, BDMS has actively incorporated AI into its medical practices, with approximately 10,000 cases benefiting from AI-driven solutions under the guidance of healthcare professionals.

Dr Suttisak Denduangchai, an occupational physicist at Bangkok Hospital, attested to the efficiency of AI in aiding medical decision-making processes.

“I have used the CARIVA AI system for general examination. In the first phase, I fed the system with lab results – blood tests and urinalysis – and found that it could identify the problems quite well. Additionally, AI is very useful in patient transfers, facilitating communication between hospitals and aiding in decision making,” Dr Suttisak said.

BDMS, meanwhile, has streamlined its AI products to focus on disease diagnosis, speed up the diagnostic procedure and ensure accuracy. These offerings include AI-powered comprehensive lab interpretation and genomic analysis, which aims to deliver precise results in record time.

Siwadon Matayakun, co-founder of CARIVA, said the accuracy rate of these AI solutions ranges from 92 to 97%.

The application of AI is not exclusive to BDMS. Other healthcare providers are also embracing this technology to enhance patient care.

“We call it the Clinical Decision Support System [CDSS]. It’s a great tool in helping young, inexperienced doctors make decisions more precisely. AI tools are also able to detect abnormalities in the body, so the doctor can treat the patient right away,” said Dr Olarik Musigavong, a consultant with the Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital and Thai Health Tech Association.

He was speaking at the “AI Revolution 2024: Transforming Thailand's Economy” seminar held on March 22 at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok.

Sustainable healthcare

Dr Patcharin, meanwhile, reaffirmed BDMS’s commitment to sustainable healthcare delivery through smart technology, streamlined intra-hospital operations and improved patient accessibility to healthcare.

AI should also help ease the strain on healthcare professionals in Thailand, which is running short of practising physicians. In Thailand, there’s an average some 0.8 doctors to every 1,000 individuals compared to the World Health Organisation-recommended ratio of 1:1,000.

“We acknowledge that AI alone cannot resolve this shortage entirely, but it can reduce the time and effort required for doctors to process initial information, allowing them to focus on complex analyses,” Dr Patcharin said.

As for concerns about rising healthcare costs, she said that integrating AI should not burden the patients financially.

“If you look in the long term, AI helps save labour and time. We see the use of AI technology as an opportunity to give our patients better care without inflating expenses,” she said.

BDMS has also come up with a teleconsulting application called Bedee, which allows patients to consult pharmacists and nurses for free, gives them access to an online medical shop as well as access to consultations with specialists. Chatbots are also available to offer free advice on mental health issues. BDMS believes that these teleconsultation services will encourage self-care among patients and promote healthcare accessibility.