Artirat Charukitpipat (right) and Kornprom Saengaram (left)
Artirat Charukitpipat (right) and Kornprom Saengaram (left)

Innovation PRESCRIBED at hospital

Tech February 23, 2019 09:53

By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation Weekend 

9,775 Viewed

Bumrungrad international taps artificial intelligence in its quest to become a  world-class holistic healthcare centre



BUMRUNGRAD International Hospital aims to use innovation to become a world-class holistic healthcare facility within the next five years. 

With healthcare businesses now impacted by disruptive technology, being reactive is insufficient in ensuring patient health and there is a need to offer preventive services and make predictions, the hospital’s chief say.

To achieve the goal of becoming a world-class holistic healthcare facility, Bumrungrad International Hospital will need to invest in a lot of innovative technology. The hospital has partnered with Biotia, a provider of next-generation sequencing technology, which since last year has piloted artificial intelligence (AI) for its sequencing-based technology for the detection of pathogens and combating drug resistance. It has also partnered with IBM Watson, since 2017, for personalised medical oncology treatments for cancer patients. 

Artirat Charukitpipat, chief executive officer for Bumrungrad, says the hospital has invested in technologies and innovations, including implementing Zebra AI in its 25 radiation stations, in which AI works with a CT scan to examine the upper body. The scan can simultaneously detect four diseases – a fatty liver, emphysema, bone fractures and intracranial bleeding. It is now in a trial period and will soon launch officially.

“Patient safety is a core value and is the DNA of Bumrungrad International Hospital. Our core values include agility, innovation and caring,” said Artirat. 

Moreover, the hospital aims to implement operational excellence. For example, with around 50 per cent of all patients being foreigners, the hospital has implemented a remote tele-medicine system that provides services on-site through a mobile device. 

The system is under trial at some of the hospital’s stations, as it seeks to reduce waiting times for patients. The hospital has also partnered with iDoctor to improve tele-medicine and tele-healthcare services as it seeks to enable patients to easily access the hospital. An April launch of the system will focus on the emergency department, with the technology eventually connecting Bumrungrad doctors to patient services at almost 40 representative offices in many countries.

Its new hospital information system (HIS) implemented in March 2018 has helped increase patient safety, allowing easier connection to hospital systems as well as to patients’ wearable devices. The aim is to facilitate patients being able to take care of themselves home while remaining connected with the hospital.

By the first half of 2020, Bumrungrad will invest over Bt100 million in a new robotics system for the OPD centre for fully automated packaging of patient medicines.

The hospital serves around 3,000 outpatients daily, along with almost 400 in-patients. 

To spur the adoption of innovations at the hospital, the Bumrungrad Academy trains its 4,000 staff in new innovation technology through a virtual training system. With staff increasingly composed of the Generation Z demographic, the hospital is adjusting its culture and environment to ignite people’s passion and work satisfaction.

It has invested Bt20 million in a new training system aimed to 

facilitate staff participation and mutual communication, and has a turnover rate of around 9 per cent.

It also offers a global conference workshop for doctors, such as an emergency room (ER) lab workshop on a knowledge-sharing platform, as it aims for status as a world-class hospital.

To now transform the hospital into a world-class holistic healthcare and continuum healthcare facility, it needs to change the mindset and attitudes of all 4,000 staff, both clinical and non-clinical staff, along with the 1,300 part-time doctors and full-time doctors, nurses and dentists. It is now around 70 per cent of the way through the transformation journey. 

Focus on quality

Kornprom Saengaram, chief executive officer and patient safety consultant for Bumrungrad International Hospital, says the facility has always focused on quality and safety.

Technological innovation such as AI is intended to support doctors so they can offer precision healthcare service, and is not meant to replace doctors, said Kornprom. The hospital years ago implemented a safety management system (SMS) that consists of four elements – safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance and safety promotion.

Bumrungrad has also implemented a crew resource management (CRM) system, for those staff with non-technical skills. To become a world-class hospital, the most important key performance indicator (KPI) is to integrate the wellness system, the VitalLife Wellness Centre, and the hospital system as seamlessly as possible, he said.

However, another KPI is to at the same time reduce medical errors, said Kornprom. Medical errors in the US have caused around 250,000 deaths each year, and is the third leading cause of death in the country.