'Home ward' medical care speeds up
The Department of Medical Services will launch a "home ward" pilot project for patients who have moderate symptoms to have tele-medical treatment at home. The service will start on July 1 for diabetic patients.
Dr Somsak Akksilp, chief of the Department of Medical Services, said the home wards will reduce the number of patients at hospitals by about 20%.
"We could say that Covid-19 was a game changer as people are more familiar with having tele-medical treatment and consultants at home,'' he said.
He said the department has been promoting remote care for four years, but the number of patients taking part numbered just 1,000 a year on average.
However, during the pandemic, the number of patients using tele-medicine increased 10-fold to 10,000 last year and the department wants to extend the service to cover other illnesses and diseases starting with diabetes.
"Under the home ward concept, treatment can take place at home. A medical team can conduct a blood test at a patient's home, or the patient can have the blood test done at a nearby clinic. The result will be sent to a doctor at a hospital," he said.
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 levels can also opt to be admitted to hospital, he said.
Home ward care will also be offered to patients during their end-of-life stage care in a bid to give them some final comfort, Dr Somsak added.
The department is expanding the scheme and will work with the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to support the costs of medical treatment, including blood tests at home, he said.
- tele-medical treatment