5G ambulance service is saving lives, says Siriraj Hospital director

5G ambulance
Image by Koonsiri Boonnak | Bigstockphoto

Siriraj Hospital, Thailand’s largest public hospital, has seen a significant improvement in the survival rates of its emergency patients since the hospital’s 5G ambulance project was put into use, says hospital director Visit Vamvanij

The 5G ambulance project is part of Thailand’s 5G Smart Hospital initiative, allows vital patient information to be transmitted to the hospital in real-time, allowing medical staff to prepare for the patient’s arrival.

“Saving time means saving lives,” said Vamvanij. “As soon as the patient arrives at the hospital, everybody knows what to do.”

The 5G ambulance is expected to drastically reduce first aid mortality rates, as well as the time it takes for patients to receive proper treatment. In fact, one-third of critically ill patients die in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Moreover, rural patients who are farther away from hospitals will now be able to receive the same level of treatment as their urban counterparts. This is thanks to the 5G ambulance’s ability to transmit high-resolution images and videos, which allows medical staff to diagnose patients remotely.

“We also utilise body cameras, that – with 5G technology – can transmit high quality videos to the doctor, so they know exactly what is happening at the scene and in the ambulance. This allows them to better prepare themselves for when the patient arrives at the hospital,” said Dr. Sichon Luerithiphong, assistant director at Siriraj Hospital, in an interview with Hospital Management Asia. “For example, they can guide the paramedic to perform life-saving procedure[s] in real-time or order medication sooner, and as we know, in emergency situations, every minute is critical and could mean the difference between life and death.”

In December 2021, Thailand launched the Southeast Asian region’s largest 5G smart hospital project, with the goal of providing an efficient and convenient experience through the introduction of technologies such as 5G, cloud, and artificial intelligence.

Recently, on the sidelines of MWC 2022, Prof. Dr. Prasit Watanapa MD, dean of the Faculty of Medicine for Siriraj Hospital at Mahidol University, walked audience members through the project, which is designed to address key pain points in Thailand’s healthcare system, such as the lack of specialists, long waiting times, and the need for better coordination between different hospitals and clinics.

The 5G ambulance is one of many sub-projects in the 5G Smart Hospital initiative. Other subprojects include 5G CPE and MEC installation, an 5G AI virtual NCD clinic, 5G unmanned vehicles for smart logistics, blockchain for electronic health records and central medical records, and 5G-powered AI for use cases such as pharmacy inventory optimization, diagnostic pathology, intelligent ER and intelligent EMS.

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