Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming Thailand’s healthcare sector, with innovative solutions designed to enhance patient care, ease the workload of medical professionals, and address the specialist shortage. In a collaboration aimed at advancing medical treatment, public hospitals, state agencies, and local startups are joining hands to develop AI-based healthcare products and services.
These advancements are expected to boost the nation’s medical sector and open up opportunities for exporting medical solutions to the Asia-Pacific region.
An alliance was recently formed between the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, under Mahidol University, and local AI startup Cariva (Thailand). This partnership seeks to utilise AI technology for improved medical treatment and the development of innovative healthcare products and services.
Dr Cherdchai Nopmaneejumruslers, deputy dean for service innovation and organisational values at Siriraj Hospital, said…
“This is not only a high-tech collaboration, but also high touch as doctors will have more time with patients.”
With this collaboration, four projects have been launched, including the establishment of the SiCAR Ai Lab. This platform for testing and developing medical AI will provide Thai startups with the opportunity to produce more efficient medical AI, contributing to improved patient diagnosis and bolstering the medical AI ecosystem.
Another initiative involves Cariva’s partnership with Mahidol University’s Radiology Department. Together, they are developing AI capable of reading and analysing images of tumours or organ masses. This AI technology, initially developed using foreign data, will be reconfigured to accommodate local patient data, which signifies a significant advancement in personalised healthcare.
Further collaborations with the Siriraj Genomics Centre will lead to the development of new products, including NanoPGx, a nanopore-based pharmacogenomics offering. This high-precision process will enable the analysis of genes with potential medicine allergies, catering to both local and international patients.
Data sharing is seen as a key factor in the progress of AI in healthcare. The National Science and Technology Development Agency, the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Medical Services, and Ramathibodi Hospital’s Faculty of Medicine at Mahidol University are promoting medical AI data sharing. This initiative allows AI developers to access certain data, which can accelerate the development of medical AI innovations.
In addition to the above, the Electronic Transactions Development Agency has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Mahidol University to pilot the use of AI in the medical sector, focusing on good governance, reported Bangkok Post.
Despite the rapid adoption of AI in the Thai healthcare industry, experts suggest that the utilisation of AI is still concentrated within specific areas, such as X-rays and robotics. However, there is a growing interest in exploring partnerships with international universities to broaden AI knowledge and skills among Thai students.
The development of digital technology in Thailand is poised to significantly influence roles within the healthcare sector. Employees will require AI analytical skills and a keen ability to assess the accuracy and appropriateness of AI’s actions. Consequently, the development of Thai-specific AI models is imperative in promoting workforce development and skill-building across various sectors.
According to a McKinsey & Co. article, generative AI has the potential to revolutionise the healthcare industry in ways previously unseen. It suggests that with maturation, generative AI could merge with other emerging technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, to transform healthcare service offerings. However, it emphasises the importance of prioritising responsibility and safety when utilising these advanced technologies.
Top goals should include protecting patient privacy, ensuring equitable clinical outcomes, and improving the experience of healthcare providers.
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