SUNDAY, April 14, 2024

Covid-19 speeds up calls for digital health reform in Thailand, survey says

Covid-19 speeds up calls for digital health reform in Thailand, survey says

The Medix Global health survey, conducted by Kantar, shows Covid-19 is driving Thais to use digital health care, including health management apps and tele-consulting.

  • 84 per cent of Thais will use digital apps in the future, because of COVID-19.
  • 82 per cent of Thais will use tele-consulting to seek healthcare advice.
  • Cardiovascular diseases, respiratory issues and cancer are the top three health concerns.
  • 76 per cent said they are interested in Medix’ Personal Medical Case Management services.

Digital healthcare and using an app to seek medical advice and treatment is rapidly gaining momentum in Thailand, triggered by the health fears and social distancing restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new research study conducted by Kantar, and commissioned by Medix Global. 

Covid-19 speeds up calls for digital health reform in Thailand, survey says

Four in five of those surveyed, 84 per cent, from a cross-section of the Thai population, say the pandemic convinced them of the benefits of digital healthcare and, in the future, they will use a digital app when looking for healthcare advice and treatment. This compared to the 51 percent who said they used digital healthcare apps in the past. As a result of Covid-19’s fears and restrictions, 82 per cent said they would seek medical advice through tele-consulting. 

Sigal Atzmon, CEO and Founder of Medix Global, said, “The Thai people are among the most informed when it comes to quality healthcare, and they have high expectations about the medical services they receive. The pandemic has underscored the need for individuals to be responsible for their own health and that of their families, and to ensure they receive the best care. Thais are also tech savvy and quick to adopt new technologies, including the latest smartphones and shift to 5G coverage.”

In response to the question on priority features for a digital healthcare app, the respondents said they should be, in order of importance: 1) Assessing a blood test result digitally and receiving guidance; 2) Uploading, managing, and sharing medical records; and 3) Assessing medical and health risks digitally, using algorithms. The survey concluded that the greatest health concerns from Thais are heart-related diseases, respiratory issues and cancer.

With respect to Thailand’s health system, 37 percent of survey participants were satisfied with the public health system, while 66 percent were satisfied with the private health system. Thais felt the top three areas that needed improvement were accessibility to healthcare, affordability of treatment and the quality of the medical system. Three-quarters of those questioned, 76 percent, said they are interested in Personal Medical Case Management while 85 percent said they would upgrade their health policy to cover the latest technological solutions and treatments related to cancer and digital healthcare. 

“The survey results validate Medix’s multi-disciplinary approach by providing the next level of care that Thais prefer,’” added Ms. Atzmon. “This includes access to our network of specialists, guidance and advice on treatment options, a dedicated customer service center available 24/7, a professional network to offer emotional support on medical journeys and being assigned a doctor and nurse to manage your case locally. With the country’s solid health care infrastructure, Medix can play an important role in helping Thais address their specific needs by focusing on preventive care, well-being, and improved health monitoring.” 

For specialist-patient interactions, 76 per cent of Thais surveyed were confident in the information provided to help them understand medical conditions and ensure a proper diagnosis. Despite the high confidence in medical specialists, 81 per cent of those not diagnosed with a serious condition say they are likely to seek a second opinion should one arise. Of the 18 per cent of respondents diagnosed with a serious medical condition, 88 per cent sought additional medical advice to make sure the diagnosis was correct or that the recommended treatment was the best available option.

Commissioned by Medix Global, the Medix Medical Monitor Research survey was conducted by Kantar, a leading multinational market research firm, between June 7 to 25, 2021 and surveyed a cross-section of communities from Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Australia. The research covered consumers' awareness of, and behavior towards, health issues, cancer and interest in digitized healthcare. Medix is using these results to understand key health trends in these markets and to gauge interest in its key service offerings.

* The study surveyed Thais from diverse backgrounds in terms of income, age, and gender, with respondents from six cities – Greater Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Phuket, and Songkhla.