Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Thai hospitals boost medical hub aim with high-tech weapons against Covid-19

May 18. 2020
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By The Nation

Large private hospitals have adopted a telemedicine system that is being hailed as the future of patient-doctor communication, spurring Thailand’s ambition to become an international medical hub.

Dr Somchai Leelakusolvong, an infectious diseases expert, said patients unable to attend physical appointments had responded positively to the telemedicine being used at his hospital, Praram 9. Encouraged by that reaction, the hospital is now developing its “Doctor Anywhere” application.

It is also offering drive-in blood tests along with home-care services and an outside respiratory-infection clinic to treat patients at high risk for Covid-19, while its negative pressure rooms for infectious patients are separated from other zones for safety.

He added that many patients from neighbouring countries had chosen to receive treatment in Thai hospitals during the pandemic crisis, indicating that Thai public health system were of global standard.

“[The pandemic] is an opportunity for Thailand to become a medical hub sooner, with the help of technology,” Somchai said.

Meanwhile, Bumrungrad International Hospital introduced a “Special Clinic”, in an isolated building, to treat patients with respiratory illnesses contracted from an unknown source.

The Bumrungrad Health Residence at Ward 9 has been transformed into a zone for Covid-19 patients who have tested negative but want to remain in hospital to recuperate.

A “new normal” at Bumrumgrad after Covid-19 is the “60-Second Service”, explained Artirat Charukitpipat, hospital CEO. The one-stop diagnosis and prescription means patients don’t have to visit different departments of the hospital to receive treatment.

Another new normal is Bumrungrad’s teleconsultation service, which now sees 80-90 clients a day after launching in March amid the Covid-19 situation, she added. The service is combined with remote patient monitoring (RPM), which doctors have found useful during the pandemic crisis.

In addition, treatment is becoming more individually focused, with the genetics and environment of each patient being taken into account.

Covid-19 has helped spur the change to more patient-centric treatment with, for example, emergency centres to receive infectious disease patients and Bumrungrad’s own testing kits for Covid-19.

Another hospital that has adapted and evolved during the pandemic is Synphaet Hospital, where Covid-19 drive-through tests and telemedicine are new services available to users.

“The world can see Thailand’s capacity to cope with Covid-19 after our public health system has shown its effectiveness, said Dr Pisut Promlikitchai, medical director at Synphaet Hospital.

“The government must promote this strength so that Thailand can achieve its target of becoming an international medical hub.”

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