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Medical care “at home” is accelerating

The Department of Medical Services will launch a “home service” pilot project for patients with moderate symptoms to receive telemedical treatment at home. The service will begin on July 1 for diabetic patients.

Dr Somsak Akksilp, head of the Department of Medical Services, said home services will reduce the number of patients in hospitals by about 20%.

“We could say that Covid-19 has been a game-changer because people are more used to having telemedical treatment and consultants at home,” he said.

He said the department had been promoting remote care for four years, but the number of participating patients averaged only 1,000 a year.

However, during the pandemic, the number of patients using telemedicine increased 10-fold to 10,000 last year and the department wants to expand the service to cover other diseases and conditions starting with diabetes.

“Under the concept of home service, treatment can take place at home. A medical team can perform a blood test at the patient’s home, or the patient can have the blood test performed at a nearby clinic. The result will be sent to a doctor at a hospital,” he says.

The doctor will later consult via video call and prescription drugs will be sent to the patient’s home, he said.

Diabetic patients with high blood sugar may also choose to be admitted to hospital, he said.

Home care will also be offered to patients during their end-of-life care to provide them with final comfort, Dr. Somsak added.

The department is expanding the program and will work with the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to meet the costs of medical treatment, including home blood tests, he said.

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