As a medtech showcase, the hospital is expected to boost inclusiveness, accessibility and medical outcomes via telemedicine and data-driven advances.

On 16 Dec, Thailand saw the launch of the Siriraj 5G Smart Hospital, the first and largest 5G smart hospital project in Thailand and the ASEAN region.

Featuring 5G, cloud and AI, big data infrastructure, Cloud Edge processing and “Digital Disruption”’ technologies for better efficiency and convenience in disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, the smart hospital will also feature an innovation lab to incubate 5G applications. Examples of the latter include piloting 5G portable medical boxes, 5G unmanned vehicles, 5G medical carts, and 5G smart hospital beds. Around that 30 5G medical applications are expected to be incubated nationwide in 2022.

Such a state-of-the-art hospital is expected to enhance the quality and productivity of medical services, and also provide opportunities for people in remote areas to access advanced tertiary health care services such as telemedicine and medical training. This can reduce social disparity and serve as a model for new generations of medical services in the country’s healthcare industry.

A medtech showcase for the nation

According to Colonel Natee Sukonrat, Vice-Chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC): “The NBTC has a key mission for licensing frequencies to accommodate high speed wireless communications in the 5G era, to promote the national telecommunications infrastructure development, and introduce the extension and utilization of technologies to various sectors. This is in line with the government’s policy after the National 5G Committee resolved to approve the pioneer Smart Hospital project as a prototype for 5G application and foresaw the potential of Siriraj Hospital to be developed into a smart hospital to produce apparent results.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Siriraj Hospital and Huawei had established long-term cooperation in 5G technology development and application. In June 2020, the hospital launched 5G self-driving vehicles for contactless delivery of medical supplies. In December 2020, the two entities signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate the intelligent operation of Siriraj Hospital using 5G for patient monitoring, diagnosis, and data management and analytics, and to provide technical training for doctors in the hospital.