Siriraj aims for healthy 'new normal'

Siriraj aims for healthy 'new normal'

Hopes app will give boost to telemedicine

Siriraj Hospital nurses sit while practising social distancing to demonstrate how outpatients will be seated during the 'new normal'. The patients will also be able to consult doctors through Siriraj's telemedicine system. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Siriraj Hospital nurses sit while practising social distancing to demonstrate how outpatients will be seated during the 'new normal'. The patients will also be able to consult doctors through Siriraj's telemedicine system. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Siriraj Hospital is to use its newly developed mobile app "Siriraj Connect" to deal with the "new normal" of Covid-19.

The mobile app -- downloadable via App Store and Google Play -- is expected to reduce the amount of outpatients by 20%, said hospital director Dr Visit Varmvanit.

Each day, 10,000 outpatients visit Siriraj Hospital, with the queue on average half-a-day long.

Some 38 million people visit the hospital each year and the number of outpatients is projected to increase by 2% annually.

"Covid-19 is the moment for the hospital to test the Siriraj Connect system and its efficacy," he told the media on Tuesday during a press event to promote the Siriraj Connect app.

Siriraj Hospital developed the mobile app with its partner over a year ago.

Dr Visit said that Covid-19 and the need to adjust to a new normal will help patients migrate to Siriraj Connect and the telemedicine system.

"Under the new normal, patients might not have to go to hospital and that can help reduce physical congestion," he said.

Siriraj Connect will offer alternatives for outpatients to consult with doctors or even handle payment without going to hospital.

Those who have never visited Siriraj Hospital can use the mobile app to set up an appointment. The app will also help facilitate telemedicine and online treatment via the video conference format.

Dr Visit said the app also allows prescriptions to be filled, with medicines delivered within five days of payment.

The hospital has delivered medicine by mail for over five years. It also has a system to trace medicine delivery and channels for patients to discuss related issues with pharmacists.

Dr Prasit Watanapa, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital of Mahidol University, said that as part of the "new normal", Siriraj Connect will establish a "good precedent" and help promote "social distancing."

Dr Prasit also warned people to be vigilant and observe social distancing measures to ensure the easing of lockdown measures does not result in a second wave of infections.

In another development, the Division of Nursing under the Ministry of Public Health on Tuesday launched a "new normal" campaign for nurses.

Sirima Leelawong, director of the Division of Nursing said that 40% of medical staff who have contracted Covid-19 are nurses.

Since the first case was recorded in early January, 103 medical workers have been infected while providing care to others.

Among the "new normal guidelines" for nurses are the requirement to replace one's face mask every eight hours or earlier when conditions require so. Nurses are also being asked to only wear their uniforms at hospital or other work sites.


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