Tuesday, June 22, 2021

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Where to get telemedicine services in this dire Covid-19 situation


The latest wave of Covid-19 in Thailand emerged in Bangkok in late March and has spread rapidly since then to several provinces, with the highest number of new cases found per day since the first outbreak.

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As the number of patients climbs, hospitals have become more crowded, not to speak of the risk of infection they pose to general patients and visitors. A few hospitals have even taken the extreme step of shutting their doors after finding that some of their staff contracted Covid-19.

Amid this desperate situation, a host of hospitals have urged people to seek health services via their telemedicine channels that include real-time doctor-patient consultations via video call and even home deliveries of medicines.

Siriraj Hospital, for example, announced on Monday that patients not requiring emergency treatment should postpone their visits or opt for telemedicine services until April 23, after a medic at the hospital tested positive for Covid-19 on coming into contact with an infected person outside the hospital.

Ramathibodi Hospital also announced it had put into operation a telemedicine system since April 1, aiming to serve those existing patients who have chronic diseases and need to visit the hospital regularly. Ramathibodi asked patients who do not have immediate medical needs to postpone their visits to the hospital until the virus situation improves.

Meanwhile, Bumrungrad Hospital has developed a mobile application called “Bumrungrad Anywhere”, which provides doctor consultations via smartphones or tablets in real time from 7am to 11pm every day. Available on both App Store and Google Play Store, the application boasts the highest safety in patients’ confidential information. The hospital charges Bt500 for 15 minutes of consultation, which can be paid either by credit card or mobile banking.

Samitivej Hospital, too, has established a virtual service that offers real-time consultations with doctors via video calls, available 24 hours a day, as well as home visits to take blood samples and deliver medication. Samitivej Virtual Hospital services are available via the Samitivej Plus mobile application, the hospital website or the @Samitivej Line app.

Princ hospital is offering its DrPrinc TeleHealth service via Line @Dr.Princ, where medical professionals will provide consultations 24/7 on weekdays and from 9am to 5pm on weekends. The hospital will provide these services free of charge until the Covid-19 situation gets better.

Nine public hospitals in Bangkok under the National Health Security Office are also offering selected telemedicine services such as consultation via video conferencing, taking blood sample at patients’ homes and drug deliveries through the postal service. They are BMA General Hospital, Taksin Hospital, Charoenkrung Pracharak Hospital, Luang Phor Taweesak Chutinataro Uthit Hospital, Wetchakarunrasm Hospital, BMA Lat Krabang Hospital, Rachapiphat Hospital, Sirindhorn Hospital and Bang Khun Thian Geriatric Hospital.

Published : April 14, 2021

By : THE NATION