Phyathai Hospital Group and Paolo Hospital Group recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) or NIA and the Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS) under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, to participate in the Yothi Medical Innovation District (YMID) initiative. The signing ceremony was held on June 4, 2020 at Phyathai Hospital 1, Bangkok and has as its objective to enhance the knowledge and capacities of personnel, support research development and propel medical and health innovation. Furthermore, the partnership is designed to create an ASEAN network to serve as a platform for the exchange of medical knowledge among Phyathai Group, Paolo Hospital and organizations located in the district and will form the basis and model for reinforcing Thailand's potential in medical innovation development and enhance its competitiveness on the international market.
Mr. Att Thongtang, Chief Executive Officer of Phyathai Hospital Group and Paolo Hospital Group, said that Thailand’s success in providing quality management of medical and public health services is recognized and that the country’s health sector is strong enough to remain at the forefront of medical services in the region and the world.
The policies and promotions of the public sector across various dimensions combined with the capacities of the private sector have led to Thailand’s success in giving Thai citizens convenient access to healthcare services across the board. In addition, the promotion of medical tourism encourages foreign patients to choose Thailand as a preferred destination for treatment. It is for this reason that the number of medical tourists arriving in Thailand has continued to grow.
With Thailand's medical sector playing a key role in the global arena, the development of medical innovations is vital for continued growth. In line with industry trends, Phyathai Group and Paolo Group are placing emphasis on human resource development through education and research to support the development of medical innovations. The groups are providing knowledge, medical excellence and specialists to support the researchers as well as creating a curriculum to develop qualified innovators, thus enhancing Thailand’s potential to become a leading medical and health service provider in the future.
“It is with pride and in recognition of the great challenges that lie ahead that the hospitals are taking part in driving the Yothi Medical Innovation District. This is a good opportunity to mobilize the capability of medical personnel and researchers of the hospitals and team up with the NIA and TCELS to support R&D for new innovations. If the project is successful, Thailand can produce medical supplies which will help reduce imports. Therefore, the YMID will be crucial to reinforcing Thailand’s position as the excellence center for all medical services in the world,” said Mr. Att.
Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana, NIA executive director, explained that the Yothi Innovation District initiative comprises the planning and design of areas and urban society to support the cluster of innovation companies and new businesses based on distinctive characteristics of each area. The NIA will also push the development of infrastructure, equipment and mechanisms that support business while improving quality of life of residents and visitors in the area.
“The promotion of the Yothi Medical Innovation District requires the development of all relevant resources including medical personnel and medical research. The district aims to promote investment in medical and health services to cope with the growing medical industry. The collaboration between NIA, Phyathai Group-Paolo Group and TCELS is the start for supporting the development of resources that are the major factors in strengthening the YMID to become a truly medical innovation district,” said Dr. Pun-Arj.
Dr. Nares Damrongchai, CEO of TCELS, added that the YMID is one the projects aimed at gearing up medical innovations. The district was initiated through the collaboration of various organizations including Mahidol University, the Royal Thai Army Medical Department, and others under the Department of Medical Services, the Ministry of Public Health, each of which have the potential to develop innovation. TCELS has the responsibility for managing and supporting the YMID to ensure its success.
“The TCELS and Phyathai Group-Paolo Group have already begun the implementation of the project with the mutual goal of developing medical innovations in the country especially R&D into precision medicine based on Genomics and the adoption of AI technology (Artificial Intelligence) for screening, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. I personally believe that the strong private sector will drive the medical industry and ensure its sustainable growth,” said Dr. Nares.
The implementation plan of YMID consists of 3 key elements. The first is the Area of Innovation, which is divided into 3 phases. The first 5-year phase will focus on the development of high-potential innovations and research in line with the government's policy. The second 10-year phase will have as its core physical development in the district to promote R&D, innovation trials and the building of a transportation network systematically and efficiently linking the organizations within the district. The last phase, which will cover a 20-year period, will focus on physical development to support the growing medical innovations.
The second element is Innovation Asset Management, which aims to develop 3 aspects. The physical asset is the joint management of medical departments and research areas as well as infrastructure. Second, the economic asset encompasses ecosystem management and promotion of healthtech startups, while the third is the development of a networking asset in the district, Big Data for management of medical innovations and the launch of the http://www.ymid.or.th/ website to serve as a platform to provide medical knowledge, treatment of disease and health care.
Finally, the Project Innovation Management aspect aims to create a network and extend healthcare innovations in the district for commercial use.