The healthcare industry is growing Thailand is positioned to be a medical hub in ASEAN. Last year, we welcomed more than 3.5 million visits of foreign patients, treated more than 2 million local inpatients and served more than 50 million visits of outpatients making our country one of the world’s top medical destinations.
🔥 The healthcare industry in Thailand is growing, strongly.
In 2020, there are in total 1,421 hospitals in Thailand, which 347 hospitals are private and 264 hospitals are medium-to-large size, along with other 9 new big hospital projects.
About the market of healthcare spending, it is forecasted to grow as high as to $32.2 billion US (1,027 billion THB) in 2020 to $47.9 billion US (1,528 billion THB) in 2026, at a CAGR of 6.6%. You can see how big the market is. The factors supporting this steady growth is the rise in ageing population, which aged 65 and over along with the increase in life expectancy that happens not only in Thailand but also in many countries around the world.
We can see that more and more people become self-aware of their health wellness. This supports steadily increasing demand in medical care services that not only increase hospitals’ profitability but also make them seek for new solutions and technologies to help improve their performances to serve the customers better.
Apart from the growth of healthcare spending, IoT in the healthcare sector is becoming a popular trend. It is expected to reach up to $12.6 billion US (401 billion THB) in Asia Pacific with a CAGR of 13.2% in 2020, showing an increase in the adoption of the emerging technologies such as AI robot-assisted surgery, workflow assistance, connected machines, and preliminary diagnosis, as well as the need for achieving greater and better healthcare service delivery for the customers from hospitals everywhere.
Although healthcare is growing, the challenges are there too.
First and foremost is the cost of medical services, highlighting the back-office operation which includes assets and staff. The back-end operation is considered to be the backbone of hospitals as it is essential to the customer experience and the service delivery. To manage the cost effectively and keep the cost down are very important in order to carry on the business.
The ineffective management of inventory and workflow of the asset can result in poor service delivery and increasing cost due to overstock and under-utilized assets. This can be related to the movable medical devices that are very high value; think of an infusion pump that can cost up to THB100,000. Although linen seems to be less in value, gathering together can cause large amounts of money and they are consumable, which means they must be replaced sooner or later.
Another important part is the people. Because our platform touches many parts of hospital operations, we have a chance to create a positive impact on so many people. Our platform can craft the best story every day. When it comes to people, what they have to deal with is about the operation and administration. The higher demand in medical care leads to a better operation process as it can directly affect the customer experience and expectation.
During this intense competition, the higher quality and value the hospitals can give to the customers, the higher chance they will come to you.
🧗🏽♀️ Still, running a hospital is getting more difficult.
If you are working in the healthcare industry, you will see general challenges the hospitals are facing as well as the opportunities that are rising behind. Many hospitals across countries are encountering similar situations, just better or worse.
The challenges can be grouped into four new factors. New challenges, New information, New technology, and New expectations.
New challenges for hospitals are such as the increase in labor cost, resource shortage, and underutilized.
Labor represents about 60 percent of hospital costs which make many hospitals are under pressure to improve the service efficiency and at the same time reduce their healthcare costs. As the demand for medical services is increasing each year due to the increase in the aging population and longer life-span of people, the cost may also grow. The hospitals that couldn’t manage their expenditures well can be in a risky position. Using staff more efficiently and reducing staff turnover can be one of the solutions.
Another challenge occurring in many hospitals is resource shortage, staff for instance. This is forecasted to continuously rise in the future. Western countries are a clear example that they will run short of almost two million healthcare workers by 2020. Meanwhile, nursing and physicians are likely to be short of up to 600,000 and 230,000 workers, respectively. This makes hospitals look for new solutions to optimize their resources.
Underutilized assets are another big issue for hospitals. Normally one hospital bed requires up to eight mobile assets such as an infusion pump and oxygen cylinder and the number of assets is expected to increase every year. It was found that the average total value of devices used per bed is around THB62,700. Thus, a 300-bed hospital will have mobile assets that can cost at least THB18,800,000. You can now imagine how much cost the hospital has to bear. Underutilized assets can be caused from poor management whether manual process or lack of information. Thus, money can be saved from better use of underutilized assets.
New kind information can cause hospitals a trouble too. For instance, a lack of real-time information, lack of shared knowledge, and solution fragmentation.
Lack of real-time information is making healthcare workers’ jobs more difficult than necessary. A lack of access to real-time information affects the ability of not only the workers to perform their roles but also the managers to access the data to make better use and management of the resources. With the real-time information in place, they can get much more accurate and efficient data.
Knowledge sharing is also important at the workplace. When the information is updated and shared among the workers, they tend to work more effectively. Lack of knowledge sharing can reduce the capabilities to perform their routines, and it leads to a delay and mistake in services.
Solution fragmentation can be troublesome to the hospitals. Thinking about the workplace, each department usually has its own separate system which is disconnected to one another, which makes the access to the data and data sharing across departments more difficult if not impossible. This, most of the time, makes workflow operation slower and less effective.
New technology for hospitals is such as mobile and connected devices, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, data analytics, and telemedicine. The trend of investment in healthcare technologies is continuously rising. All of these exist for certain types of purposes. So, to select the right solutions is very important to give out the most effective and beneficial way for hospitals. Technology adoption is a must, not just nice-to-have.
New expectations for hospitals are such as frictionless processes, prompt access to information, and self-serve digital experience.
The way of operation in the hospitals has to continue improving. The quality of services needs to keep up to the standard or even better in order to outperform the others. Many processes that are operated manually have to change and develop to smooth processes, automatically and intelligently.
Information is everywhere. The problem is how to access the right and useful information to help better performance and how fast we can access the information. With the innovative technologies, IoT, connected devices, and data analytics, access to the efficient and reliable information can help up perform the workers. For instance, RTLS technologies solutions and voice-assistant devices
In the past, the digital experience could be accessible by a group of people. But, nowadays, everyone can enjoy it. This starts to slightly change the way we behave in numeral ways. This also affects the hospitals. Patients and customers do expect more and seamless digital experience. You can see patient experience is going more digital compared to the past whether digital check-in or smart devices to enhance the patient experience. This is also the same in the workplace. More and more hospital workers also expect to operate workflow digitally as well.
💰 New opportunities for forward thinkers
You might start to see the trends of hospitals that are changing. These new changes can give businesses new opportunities and spaces to play. What matters the most is how quickly you can see the hidden opportunities and fill in that gap.