Technology to deliver better health outcomes

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Mr. Cherdchai, Mr. Sucharee and Mr. Chatchai share their views on 5G and the health and tourism sectors.

5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies are expected to reshape healthcare services in the years to come as access to better medical services becomes available, according to industry players.

These new technologies could help save lives, reduce the workload of medical personnel and support precision medicine.

These opinions were shared at Bangkok Post virtual conference entitled: “Shaping Tomorrow: Power of 5G and Technology Convergence”.

INTELLIGENT HPITAL

Cherdchai Nopmaneejumruslers, deputy director of Siriraj Hospital, said new technologies will support telemedicine, allowing patients to receive medical advice from a distance.

“Over the next few years, patients with diabetes and high blood pressure may forget their last hospital visit,” he said.

“A lot of people now forget the last time we went to a bank counter.”

Over the next decade, Thailand continues to face challenges in accessing healthcare due to the shortage of doctors.

Siriraj Hospital has around 80,000 inpatients per year and 3.8 million outpatients, creating overcrowding, Cherdchai said.

This creates concerns about a gap in health services in the future, especially for complex diseases, he said.

Technologies such as 5G, IoT, edge computing, cloud, big data and AI are expected to enable faster processing, reduction of unnecessary hospital visits, lower costs and productivity increased, Mr Cherdchai said.

“Disruptive technologies can be used to observe people’s habits, such as eating, and monitor vital signs. AI can be used to analyze patient data to support precision medical treatment,” a- he declared.

He also pointed out that “healthcare everywhere” was a future concept.

The Siriraj smart hospital project has been selected by the National 5G Committee as a model to apply 5G technology to improve healthcare services. The hospital has also adopted blockchain technology to support decentralized personal health records, enabling fast and secure access to information.

Siriraj Hospital is deploying emergency medical system using 5G and AI to support smart ambulance solutions. In emergency rooms, staff can use 5G-powered medical equipment to monitor patient status and AI to help assess and send alerts.

Mr Cherdchai said AI can also be used to diagnose noncommunicable diseases and support medical studies.

If the adoption of the technology at Siriraj Hospital continues to work well, the model will expand to other public hospitals, he said.

DATA-BASED MEDICINE

5G wireless technology not only facilitates communication between doctors and patients, but also helps analyze disease data for more precise treatments that should be the heart of modern medicine, said Sucharee Sanghan, director of the innovation technology for Thonburi Healthcare Group (THG).

A wide range of technological applications is expected to help Thailand survive the pandemic and become a regional medical center, he said.

“Thai doctors are known for their talent and the treatment costs here are reasonable,” Sucharee said.

“5G technology added to these assets should strengthen our position as a medical hub. “

5G can help doctors examine symptoms and provide follow-up treatment for foreign patients when they return home, he said.

“Sensors can be integrated into patients who send their physical conditions via 5G to physicians for analysis,” Sucharee said.

Telemedicine, which allows doctors and patients to communicate with each other, is also used in ambulances to allow doctors to give advice and plan treatment in advance.

THG plans to use the Internet of Medical Things to improve the quality of its medical services and better meet the needs of patients, he said.

SAFE AND SECURE

Chatchai Tangchittrong, founder of Pomo House International, a health and travel technology startup, said the company uses wristbands for tourists in its Digital Yacht Quarantine program, a collaboration between the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, Advanced Info Service and the government of Phuket.

“We track data such as vital signs and temperature of tourists on yachts and send the data to doctors and officials ashore,” he said.

“It keeps tourism going and makes travelers happy.”

Yachts stay in restricted areas to reduce the risk of infection.

“It’s an ongoing project with hundreds of high-end tourists spending a lot,” Chatchai said.


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