How AI Technology is Helping Thailand’s Fight Against COVID-19 

With majority of the country dependent on public healthcare, Thailand’s medical providers are turning to AI to make the system more efficient.

June 2021 , by Alexandra Santiago

Thailand’s healthcare system is carrying a large burden. With COVID-19 cases still steady and vaccination slow, the government is putting more funds towards fighting the effects of the devastating outbreak. According to the Bangkok Post, the country’s prime minister has expressed the importance of securing more funds to aid the public health sector, which caters to 52 million of the country’s citizens. 

But COVID-19 is not the only burden the public healthcare system is carrying: Thailand’s aging population now faces more complex health issues, and with a severe lack of human resources, costs are rising fast. Different solutions have been proposed to address the country’s healthcare problems, but it is digital acceleration that is proving to be most popular and cost-effective for public providers.  

This digital transformation is discussed in the YCP Solidiance white paper The Future of Smart Hospitals in Thailand, which looks at the various ways Thai hospitals have utilized digital technology to become “smarter” and improve the efficacy of the overall healthcare system.  

AI-Powered Healthcare Solutions 
Among the various technological solutions adopted by healthcare providers are ways to automate processes, eliminate long queues, and even initiatives to improve healthcare education. The Bangkok Post reports the launch of a new AI-powered chatbot, “Chat Sure,” aimed at fighting fake COVID-19 news and providing netizens with accurate health information. The chatbot is a joint project between the Health Ministry, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (THPF), Facebook Thailand, Hbot Co, the International Health Policy Program, and the National Vaccine Institute launched in early June 2021. 

AI technology has been a popular digital solution for many hospitals in the country both before and at the height of the pandemic. Samutprakan Hospital, a large public medical provider, uses an AI chatbot to help with initial patient screening (an average of 3,200 outpatients daily). Another public hospital, Songkhla Nakarin Hospital, employs the use of a similar system that utilizes AI technology to predict and communicate patient waiting times, eliminating the need for human manpower. 

Advancements in AI technology also play a part in helping evaluate COVID-19 cases without exposing medical staff to the virus. In April 2020, OpenGov Asia announced a partnership between Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and tech giant Huawei to provide AI solutions and 5G technology for Siriraj Public Hospital.  

These solutions, which have been deployed in more than 20 hospitals in China, use Artificial Intelligence to leverage computer vision and medical image analysis in assessing the condition of a suspected case’s lungs. This technology will not only help improve the quality of care, but it will help ensure the safety of and reduce the workload of medical professionals already overburdened with the number of cases. 

Opportunities in AI Solutions 
There are many prospects for stakeholders—whether they be businesses, start-ups, or technology providers—to create ingenious solutions that help address the specific issues faced by hospitals. Aside from the solutions already aforementioned, some hospitals are using AI technology to aid with radiology procedures and CT scans. Artificial Intelligence can also help with security matters, and for a lot of private hospitals, this form of technology is useful in enhancing VIP customer experience via facial recognition.  

Download our full report here to learn more about the other ways Thailand’s hospitals are embracing digital technology and the business opportunities for potential partners. 

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