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Thailand’s Universal Healthcare adds Smart ID tech




“Hospitals and clinics which participate in the universal healthcare scheme have made preparations for this and many are now ready to use the smart ID cards and implement the new procedure.”

If you’re a subscriber to Thailand’s universal healthcare scheme, you’ll will be required to provide smart ID cards to verify your identity when receiving treatment and services at participating facilities around Bangkok. The new cards will be valid from the start of next year.

But use of the new smart ID cards, in conjunction with the”gold card” healthcare scheme, as part of patient’s verification, will only apply in Bangkok for now. The use of smart ID cards will allows for the integration of patient data and medical records between hospitals as it’s rolled out in the capital, then around the country.

Sakchai Kanjanawatana, secretary-general of the National Health Security Office says the updated verification process is “aimed at preventing fraud by those who are not covered by the universal healthcare scheme”. He said that it’s based on the new system instigated by the navy-run Somdech Phra Pinklao Hospital and BTU-Medical Dental Clinic.

“Based on the pilot scheme implemented by Somdech Phra Pinklao Hospital, the use of smart ID cards can prevent fraud. Even though there are additional steps involved when the smart ID cards are first used, they ultimately end up being more convenient for patients when the systems are linked.”

According to the Bangkok Post, the use of smart ID cards for verification will be expanded later starting with state hospitals under the supervision of the Public Health Ministry, he said.

Capt Pattanachai Chalermwan, deputy director of Somdech Phra Pinklao Hospital, said new technology will make it more convenient for patients as they will be able to visit any clinics which partner with the hospital.

“With the new verification system in place, the patients do not need to visit the hospital as often. Instead, they can go to any participating clinic at their convenience and they will get continued services.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 11:16 am


    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 3:10 pm

      Expats don’t have Thai ID cards so they can’t have the new “smart” Thai ID cards this report is about – it’s just a normal-style Thai ID card, but with a chip that makes it more secure as it has biometric data (fingerprints, etc).

      … nor can expats have Thai “gold cards” entitling them to universal health care (more generally known as “yellow cards”) and the 30 baht scheme.

      If you’re working and paying tax here you’re covered at government hospitals by your tax social security scheme, just as Thais are.

      If not you can register at your local clinic (at sub-district level), local hospital (district level) and city / provincial hospital and you’ll get a hospital card and hospital number (one for the district hospital, one for the city / provincial hospital) which will save you having to register and give any details whenever you go to the hospital. You just show your hospital registration card at A&E, or put it in the tray for out patient treatment, whatever the local system is, in exactly the same way that Thais do with their ID cards; the only difference may be that if they don’t know you they may ask for your passport as verification – since registering, I’ve never been asked, even when admitted to the main city / provincial hospital for a few days.

      It’s actually a very efficient system, despite what some who’ve never used it will tell you. When we moved a few years ago, for example, the Bangkok International Hospital Group couldn’t access any medical records at one of their hospitals from another branch, so we had to take all our records with us, printed out, and start from scratch at the new branch (they may have improved their system since, I don’t know), while all my records at my local/district hospital are immediately available on-line at the city/provincial hospital and vice-versa.

      You pay exactly the same prices that a Thai would if they’re not covered by the Social Care or Universal Health Care systems, and are treated in exactly the same way they would be – joining the queue if you’re not a priority, and triaged to the front if you are (as I have been on a couple of occasions). The ambience may not be quite the same as at an “international” hospital, but in my experience of both (not only for myself) the treatment is every bit as good (at least the treatment I’ve needed so far), just as prompt, and the “VIP” rooms on a par but a fraction of the price although they’re not always available – I emphasise, though, that’s only my personal experience and it probably varies depending on the medical issue.

      • Avatar

        Jesus Monroe

        Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 6:23 pm

        Thank you Issan your a very kind man to bring me up to date. Much appreciated.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    This suggests that Thailand may be extending the Universal Healthcare Scheme from just coverage at their local hospital (plus referrals to other main hospitals) to full coverage at any hospital, with no need for a referral.

    Hopefully (for Thais) that’s the case as if so it will be a major step forward for Thais under the yellow card scheme, but I’m far from sure that’s correct.

  3. Avatar

    Johan Ubel

    Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    If they also would implement a fingerprint sensor on the card as the biometric smart cards do, all data on the chip är proven to belong to the person. If not, all places where you need to identify yourself, all clinics/administration facilities need the same kind of fingerprint reader and you still cannot identify yourself on distance, from home or from wherever.

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