The Bangkok Post recently announced Chinese tech giant Huawei’s expansion of its investment in Thailand’s 4.0 initiative through 5G technology, cloud and data centers, and digital power support. 5G technology, in particular, is pivotal to Thailand’s innovation plans, as the country wants to take a leading role in 5G rollout across ASEAN prior to its hosting of the 2022 APEC Summit.
Currently, Huawei’s 5G technology is being used at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok to help speed up medical service processes and keep a high standard of care. With COVID-19 forcing more healthcare providers across the country to accelerate their digitalization, 5G will play a vital role in ensuring the medical sector can keep up with the growing and ever-changing demands of the Thai population.
The Growing Role of 5G in Smart Hospitals
Thailand 4.0’s healthcare vision is rooted in utilizing digital technology to offer a higher standard of care, especially as the population continues to age and has more complex medical needs. According to the YCP Solidiance white paper “The Future of Smart Hospitals in Thailand,” released earlier in 2021, the country’s 60-and-over population will increase rapidly to 22% by 2024.
Over the past few years, Thailand’s healthcare system has been burdened by a shortage of medical professionals and the lack of infrastructure. To address these issues, the government is heavily encouraging hospitals both public and private to focus on digitalization through the process of becoming smart hospitals.
Interconnectivity is a crucial pillar of the smart hospital system, which explains 5G’s role in bringing this advanced digitalization to realization. With 5G technology, hospitals become more connected not only through the synchronization of medical records and the ease of teleconsultation—but with making operations more systematic and intuitive to benefit both patients and healthcare workers. One such example is the aforementioned Siriraj Hospital, which presents a best practice case study for other hospitals who want to incorporate 5G services:
Moving forward, more hospitals within Thailand are expected to adopt these 5G best practices as the country grapples with the new variants of COVID-19. With touchless transactions, social distancing, and teleconsultations becoming part of the norm within the realm of healthcare, 5G plays a vital role in the sector’s evolution and success, with more partners in the tech and digital space expected to join.
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