Amid the current COVID-19 outbreak, which has seen the number of at-risk countries increase, many nations, including Thailand, have taken up increasingly stringent surveillance and screening measures for travelers coming from or transiting at-risk countries.
Regarding hospitals having a 50:50 ratio of Thai and international patients, Pharmacist Artirat Charukitpipat, Chief Executive Officer of Bumrungrad International Hospital, revealed that “In the history of Bumrungrad we have teams with experienced leaders in disease control, who have worked with global and regional institutions in the prevention of many diseases and to evaluate and re-think management practices. We focus on both local and international situations because 50% of our patients are Thai and 50% are international. We have tracked the COVID-19 since the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. We are meeting regularly to determine suitable surveillance measures against COVID-19 so our patients and staff are safe. With our world-class medical technology, experienced healthcare professionals and specialists who combatted both the MERS-CoV and SARS during their respective outbreaks, we are confident we will be able to tackle COVID-19.”
The COVID-19 situation is getting more serious each day. Bumrungrad International Hospital recognizes the need of the sick to see a doctor and those with health concerns to seek a doctor’s consultation. Some patients are not ready to go out due to concern over COVID-19; therefore, in response, Bumrungrad introduces Telemedicine Hotline 1378, “Keeping You Healthy at Home.” Our operators work 24-7 to bring our patients three main services:
- Consultation with Bumrungrad Doctors
Our patients can talk to their doctors with ease from 8 am to 6 pm. Each consultation period will take no longer than 15 minutes.
- Medications delivered to your home
Bumrungrad will deliver medications to your home after consulting your doctor and have been prescribed medications. Exceptions include medications which need to be kept refrigerated, narcotics, and psychotropic substances. This service is available from 8 am to 4 pm.
- Blood sample collection at home
Our patients can have their blood drawn at home as ordered by their physicians. This service is available only in Bangkok and neighboring provinces from 6 am to 4 pm.
So far Bumrungrad International Hospital has adopted medical technology to take up increasingly stringent surveillance and screening measures, which are equivalent to those of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We have also created a COVID-19 command center to monitor the situation and adapt our protocols and regulations in response to the rapidly-changing COVID-19 situation.
Assistant Professor Dr. Wichai Techasathit, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Bumrungrad International Hospital, adds, “Bumrungrad’s laboratory is a testing center for COVID-19. With our world-class medical tools and teams of physicians and lab technicians who specialize in COVID-19, we can test for COVID-19. Also, our laboratory has been accredited by the Department of Medical Sciences for COVID-19 testing. We are the only private hospital lab among the 7 public hospital laboratories listed for COVID-19 testing. We are also certified by the Department of Medical Sciences to have experienced lab technicians and world-class medical laboratories, which can test for COVID-19. Bumrungrad also is currently implementing 8 stringent surveillance measures to ensure the safety of patients, hospital personnel, and the community.”
- Minimizing infection risk by having the hospital personnel, patients, and visitors wear personal protective equipment according to their likelihood of exposure to COVID-19.
- Preventing anyone at Bumrungrad from being infected with COVID-19 from close contact or airborne infection through standard hygiene practices of cleaning tools, floors, and screening points.
- Managing visitor access points and utility of space; installing thermal imaging cameras to screen out people with elevated temperatures all around the hospital.
- Preparing for suspected cases of infection according to the Department of Disease Control’s announcements; moving those suspected of COVID-19 infection to an isolated negative pressure room equipped with world-class medical equipment to prevent the possible spread of the virus; preparing sterile capsules and having experienced transport staff on hand, in case patients need to be transferred.
- Closely monitoring hospital personnel, especially those who have close contact with at-risk patients; creating a staff clinic to give advice on how to stay healthy in the fight against COVID-19.
- Training and keeping hospital personnel updated on the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.
- Enforcing proper & scientifically proven cleaning and hazardous waste disposal procedures.
- Maintaining internal communication and communication with public health authorities; creating a COVID-19 command center to monitor & track the situation and organize meetings with specialists to analyze and adapt action plans as the situation changes; communicating accurate information, including rules and regulations, to our staff, visitors, and the public.
Bumrungrad International Hospital’s laboratory has been listed as one of the 7 centers for coronavirus (2019-nCoV) testing. Organizations and people misunderstood this announcement and came to Bumrungrad for COVID-19 testing, when unnecessary. Assistant Professor Dr. Wichai Techasathit, an Infectious Disease Specialist explains, “The lab at Bumrungrad is reserved for moderate and high-risk groups, whose need for testing has been determined by our physicians. The Department of Medical Sciences’ COVID-19 test kits are limited and Bumrungrad needs to reserve them only for suspected cases of infection to prevent future shortages. Bumrungrad would like to communicate accurate information to organizations, companies, and people, especially those returning from at-risk countries. When people returning from at-risk countries are tested for COVID-19, the test results will be negative if tested when no fever is present. Consequently, COVID-19 infection cannot be determined until after the 14-day incubation period. The best advice is when returning from at-risk countries, self-quarantine for 14 days, wear a surgical mask, wash hands often, avoid going out to public spaces or seeing people, eat cooked foods, and follow the basic advice of eat hot, use serving spoons, and wash your hands. When you feel sick, you should go see a doctor and report your travel history accurately.”