Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Ramathibodi goes in for hospitable telemedicine services to reduce unsafe crowding

Jun 01. 2020
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By THE NATION

Since the government has enforced social distancing to prevent Covid-19 from spreading, Ramathibodi Hospital has employed telemedicine services to efficiently treat patients, director Dr Surasak Lela-Udomlipi said.

“Each year the hospital provides services to 2.2 million patients or 5,000-6,000 patients per day,” he said. “Using telemedicine has significantly helped reduce crowding at the hospital. From April 1 to May 15, more than 5,700 patients have availed of this service, while 4,300 have received their medications via mail.”

Under telemedicine practices, the hospital classifies patients into three group using colour coding. Those in stable condition are in the green group and receive medical consultation via telephone and their drugs by mail or from local pharmacies. Patients who require specialised medicine such as temperature-controlled drugs and drugs that have addictive substances are classified in the yellow group. The hospital sets a schedule to let patients or their relatives come to pick up drugs at suitable dates to avoid crowding.

“And patients whose symptoms need to be closely monitored are classified in the red group. They need regular hospital visits until their symptoms improve and they can move to other groups, continuing to receive services via telephone or the Line application’s video call until they fully recover,” Surasak explained.

Dr Atiporn Inksathit, director of the hospital’s Somdet Phra Thepparat Medical Centre, said that to facilitate telemedicine services, the hospital has also adjusted its billing system to promote social distancing.

“Patients can pay their medical fees via e-banking, credit card or bank transfer,” she said. “Once the bill is paid, the system will dispatch medication data to pharmacists to prepare and mail the required drugs to the patients immediately, while a SMS will be sent to the patient’s phone notifying the arrival date and time of the medicine.”

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