Profile: Building high-end healthcare from grass roots beginnings
PHUKET: Dr Somrit Jantarapratin (MD, MBA) recently took on a new role as director of Bangkok Hospital Phuket. One might expect a position of such prestige to require extensive study and experience from foreign medical institutions, but this is not the case with Dr Somrit, who is an example of the world-class advancements that Thailand’s grass-roots medical institutions can help doctors achieve.
Dr Somrit grew up in Songkhla and studied medicine at Prince of Songkhla University (PSU). He undertook postgraduate training at Songklanagarind Hospital, then studied for two years at Chulalongkorn University to specialize in pediatric cardiology.
Dr Somrit’s arrival in Phuket comes after a five-year stint as director of Bangkok Hospital Hat Yai, which works closely with the medical training facilities and professionals at PSU.
Dr Somrit aims to oversee developments that will firmly establish the hospital as an international hub of medical innovation, making the entire facility a ‘center of excellence’ recognized worldwide.
Bangkok Hospital Phuket on Yaowarat Road in Phuket Town opened in 1995 and now boasts 24 medical ‘centers of excellence’, including the Heart Center, Bone & Joint Center and Oncology Center, each staffed with medical professionals in those specific fields.
Recent additions to the hospital’s centers of excellence include the Colorectal Disease Institute, the Neurology Science Center, the Brain Health Institute, the Spine Center and a new Sports Med facility.
More recently, the hospital has developed satellite medical facilities, each specializing in a specific area of practices and treatments, allowing the original Bangkok Hospital Phuket to return to its roots as a community hospital.
This is something Dr Somrit is keen to oversee, making the hospital’s facilities and services more accessible to the local community.
The point is not necessarily to make the services cheaper, but more efficient for ‘optimum outcome’, so that patients are spending less time convalescing and therefore saving on medical bills in the long run.
Dr Somrit is at the heart of Thailand’s own home-grown developments in keyhole cardiac and colonoscopic surgical procedures, which allows patients to return home very soon after an operation.
Dr Somrit’s vision is to build alliances with other medical institutions rather than being in competition with them. An online patient portal is one of the advancements in patient care that Dr Somrit plans to develop over the next few years.
The portal will give patients and doctors anywhere easy access to medical records. It is part of the ‘constant care’ mantra adopted by Dr Somrit that helps patients keep tabs on their own health and the advice they need.
When asked what are the most pressing health problems in today’s society, Dr Somrit listed lack of sleep, stress and diet (too much sugar) as the three most significant factors that are detrimental to good health.
Dr Somrit aims to see patients getting good medical advice so that they can take their own preventative measures before the need for surgery or other treatments arises.
Promoting prevention of disease with regular clinics for locals is another way that patients can stay healthy and save on the costs involved with complex treatments needed for conditions left undiagnosed and untreated.
— Nick Davies
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