Global Health Asia-Pacific Special Issue | Page 75

Telemedicine helped cope with the disruption to healthcare in Thailand
demand for teleconsultation services has declined . But Leloup believes that the telemedicine platform he referred to as Samitivej Virtual Hospital is still relevant to patients facing difficulties getting to the hospital . He also believes that telemedicine offers flexibility for conventional medical practices , which can optimise hospital resources . “ For patients with chronic illnesses , we can integrate home monitoring systems into our telemedicine platform . You don ’ t always need to go to the hospital for follow-up appointments , and a teleconsultation can be just as efficient ,” he said .
While the COVID pandemic highlighted vulnerabilities in the Thai healthcare system , it also forced the local medical workforce to ensure that the health tourism sector was resilient during public health crises , while also creating other paradigm shifts .
For example , BDMS viewed the pandemic as a tremendous opportunity to meet new healthcare standards and accelerate change throughout the organisation by adopting innovative healthcare technologies supported by a flexible team who consistently provides the most patient-centric experience . “ The pandemic also demonstrated that our focus on preventative care , early detection and diagnosis , and utilising new innovative solutions , such as genomics , to improve patient outcomes was exactly what our clients want ,” Limjitti said .
And while the indirect consequences of the pandemic on people ’ s livelihoods should not be ignored , especially for countries like Thailand that rely heavily on the tourism industry , Leloup remains optimistic due to the advancements in modern medicine and public health . “ In just two years , the world developed vaccines , learned how to control the pandemic , adapted and changed how we work , redesigned supply chains and manufacturing systems , etc . This was a huge undertaking in a short time ,” he said .
Another positive outcome of the pandemic is that scientists are learning more about how viruses spread in real time and can now build more accurate models to help contain them . Leloup was confident that Thailand was adequately prepared for any new emerging infectious diseases . “ Thailand ’ s healthcare system held up relatively well . Access to COVID care was not restricted . Medical equipment wasn ’ t lacking . The private hospitals were a backup to the government hospitals so that capacity was never an issue . The Thai healthcare system has proven during the pandemic that it is competent and resilient ,” he said . n
GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com ISSUE 6 | 2022