Thailand is now an aging society and the demand for healthcare services has been increasing while state facilities are struggling to meet this rise in demand.
However, new technologies are providing solutions that could be incorporated into healthcare policies in order to provide better quality healthcare for the public and lower the state’s financial burden at the same time.
With the election approaching, here is a brief look into the healthcare policies of Thai Sang Thai, Pheu Thai, Move Forward and Democrat parties.
Thai Sang Thai:
- The “30 baht plus” policy to upgrade the current universal healthcare program.
- The idea is to switch the program’s concentration from reactive “sick care” to preventive “health care” in order to cope with the aging society. Thai Sang Thai Leader Sudarat Keyuraphan said 20% of Thailand’s population is now aged 60 or above and the number will increase to 31% within the next 15 years.
- Use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help analyze information in order for patients to gain faster access to treatment and medicine while ensuring that everyone is treated equally.
- Use AI technology to make it easier for medical workers to do their jobs and help lower the state budget for the program. Thailand’s healthcare budget for 2021 was 682.4 billion baht, up 334% in 20 years, Sudarat said.
- Use AI technology to provide more personalized healthcare services such as the use of telemedicine and ChatGPT to allow phone users to have a “mobile doctor” with them at all times.
- Push for the transformation from “medical hub” to “wellbeing hub” to tap into the global healthcare market which is worth 156 trillion baht when compared to the 76 trillion tourism market.
- Upgrade the universal healthcare program with blockchain in order to allow for greater, easier and faster access to healthcare services.
- Utilise blockchain technology to connect people’s healthcare information to allow everyone to gain access to healthcare services according to their rights everywhere.
- Enable the use of the national ID to gain access to healthcare services.
- Enable advance booking while clinics and hospitals will be connected by cloud technology, allowing them to gain access to patients’ information.
- Greater concentration on diseases that are the top killers in the Thai population such as cancer by early detection and preventative measures such as vaccines.
- Greater concentration on mental health such as enabling online consultation for people suffering from depression.
- Ensuring that all terminal patients are taken care of.
- Revamp the current medical hub policy.
- Provide support for wellness businesses that have suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Improve the local production of medical equipment via state support and procurement to create a local medical equipment industry and boost their exports as there is a global shortage of such equipment.
- Provide better compensation and working condition for state healthcare workers to discourage them from switching to the private side.
- Better allocation of medical workers to concentrate on providing services for Thai people instead of concentrating on becoming a medical hub for tourists.
- Phuket medical hub, the current government’s 5 billion baht public–private partnership project to create an international medical hub in Phuket, with the aim of expanding health- and wellness-related tourism on the island.
- Explore another potential medical hub in the redevelopment of the Eastern Economic Corridor to attract more investors to the special economic zone.
- Promote plastic surgery in Thailand to compete with the like of South Korea via tax incentives such as tax exemption for medical equipment.
- Recruit and train more skilled medical workers.
- Promote Thai medical herbs that are well-known in each province to support medical tourism.