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Boosting Thailand’s healthcare with Deep Technology

DIGITAL VENTURES August 14, 2018 12:01 AM

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Healthcare is another industry that drives Thailand’s economy with competent services and capability of human resources as the core mechanism propelling the industry. Nevertheless, healthcare can be further enhanced to increase competitiveness with the use of Deep Technology such as making the patient screening process more convenient and faster. Today, Digital Ventures interviews TrueEye, a team of medical Deep Tech developers, who will share their ideas about the use of Deep Tech in healthcare to further uplift Thailand’s competitiveness.

The overview of healthcare in Thailand and challenges awaiting solutions.

The Board of Investment of Thailand or BOI announced the plan to drive Thailand to become the Hub of Wellness and Medical Service by 2025. For Thailand to achieve the goal, businesses in Thailand’s healthcare sector needs to greatly elevate its services, from the infrastructure, medical technology, and quality of service.

TrueEye explains the quality of Thailand’s medical service that, today, most doctors in the country remains to diagnose and treat patients in the classical practice. This is where they utilize their expertise and former knowledge for the diagnosis. Although this practice conforms to each doctor’s expertise, yet it may cause bias treatment and diagnosis. As a result, it can lead to inaccurate analysis, unfocused treatment, and give patients a bad experience.

Moreover, the healthcare trend of the future is precision and personalized medicine. Therefore, conventional practices aren’t the solution. Services need to be enhanced by Digital Transformation with the use of innovations that will advance the infrastructure, technology, and quality of the services. 

The role of Deep Tech towards healthcare in the digital era.

TrueEye mentions that, at present, the healthcare service businesses in Thailand are entering the 6Ds of Digital Transformation. This is a positive trend that will not only uplift the business sector but will also improve Thailand’s entire healthcare sector. The 6Ds consist of the following: 

  • Digitalization – Digitalize healthcare data.
  • Deception – Once people begin to use digital HealthTech, there will be early adopters who see the trend and benefits. Therefore, they will gradually develop the existing innovation. At this phase, a majority of the people will doubt and may not fully accept the technology.
  • Disruption – After experiments towards the advantageous direction, digital healthcare technology will receive more acceptance and quickly replace old systems or technologies. 
  • Demonetization – Once digital healthcare technology usage becomes more widespread, old technology or system will be outdated and lose its value.
  • Dematerialization – Once digital healthcare technology is widely used, it will not be necessary to utilize or preserve equipment needed for the old system or structure.
  • Democratization – Once digital healthcare technology has advanced, and its cost reduces to a certain level until it can be used by everyone, it will be commonly used and completely replace old technology or system.

At present, HealthTech in Thailand is at the Deception phase. That is, it is advancing after healthcare data is digitalized yet a majority of the people have doubts and don’t fully accept the technology. Despite the goal to build substantial technology and introduce it to the mass audience, yet with the abovementioned factors, the technology is rather uncommon.

Building innovation for healthcare with Deep Tech.

To get a clearer picture, TrueEye provided an example of an innovation that they are developing, also called, TrueEye. It is an innovative screening method via the retina image.

TrueEye offers a non-invasive screening process with the use of Deep Learning technology that analyzes the retina image to define the patient’s health condition. This concept is widely supported by research. Moreover, TrueEye can integrate the health conditions from the retina image with health conditions acquired from other IoTs. This helps to acquire the current and overall health condition and can evaluate future health risks.

This screening process is non-invasive, thus, it is likely that users will receive a good experience. Also, it can be applied for outdoor use and doctors can send results to the patients through online channels. As a result, the preliminary screening will no longer require patients to travel to the hospital. Accordingly, this can enhance services and benefit telemedicine in remote areas.

This innovation is a harmonious integration of Deep Tech and R&D. TrueEye’s technology has high-potential and is a good example that may help drive HealthTech from the Deception to Disruption phase. Finally, it may make digital healthcare technology and HealthTech become more widespread.

Most hospitals in Thailand are facing slow screening process problems, in which, deteriorates both the energy and quality of the service. The use of a quick and efficient technology can enhance the service of the hospital.

Next steps and supports for HealthTech to grow in Thailand.

Aside from using the technology by TrueEye in the medical sector, it can be adapted to the public transportation sector such as in international airports for pre-screening.

Moreover, it can be used to provide essential data in emergency situations. For instance, if the design is small, it will be portable and use less energy or can even be embedded in a smartphone. In this case, it can send information to prepare for treatment beforehand. The developers hope that TrueEye can support doctors in the future.

Nevertheless, TrueEye views that HealthTech in Thailand still lacks funding for R&D as the process requires a large investment. Also, regulations in Thailand may not be favorable for innovative R&D.

Also, Deep Tech development is complex, difficult to understand, and costly, therefore, it is challenging to connect Deep Tech to consumers. In this part, the government can support by launching pilot projects in public hospitals which will surely help drive the R&D.

Nevertheless, healthcare technology development in Thailand will still require Digital Transformation that is accessible by the society. This means that data such as treatment case studies or medical research should be digitalized. This will uplift the capability to communicate and share information among medical practitioners. This is another element that can help develop HealthTech.

TrueEye is a HealthTech researcher in the U.REKA project who aims to nurture Deep Tech in Thailand. Their idea is only one part of the healthcare industry in the country. Follow us for more updates in the healthcare industry.

Reference: boi.go.th