Smart ID card roll-out begins

Smart ID card roll-out begins

Capital's hospitals to adopt new protocol

Subscribers to the state's universal healthcare programme will be required to provide smart ID cards to verify their identity when receiving services at participating clinics and hospitals in Bangkok from Jan 1 next year.

However, Sakchai Kanjanawatana, secretary-general of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), said the use of smart ID cards in conjunction with the healthcare, or "gold card", scheme, as part of the verification will apply in the capital only.

He said that the updated verification process is aimed at preventing fraud by those who are not covered by the universal healthcare scheme, and a pilot test of the new system by the navy-run Somdech Phra Pinklao Hospital and BTU-Medical Dental Clinic had proved successful.

"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," he said.

He said the 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.

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.

The use of smart ID cards allows for the integration of patient data and medical records between hospitals.

"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," he said.

Dr Pramote Kanchanakitsakul, chief of obstetrics and gynaecology, said that although the pilot run had gone smoothly, some patients were still using ID cards that have no chip or had no ID card at all.

Assoc Prof Thongnart Khamjai, dentistry faculty dean at Bangkok Thonburi University, said the clinic has started informing their staff and nearby communities about the use of smart ID cards to verify identity.

He said the clinic can accommodate about 10,000 patients and it still has room for "gold card" holders who wish to transfer their treatment rights.

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