Kyoto University International ONLINE Symposium 2020
on Education and Research in Global Environmental Studies in Asia
Keynote Speech 'Post Covid-19 countermeasures and revolutions in university campus'
Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, THAILAND
Dean and Professor of Surgery
COVID-19 : Catalyst of the Changes in Medical Education and Technology Development
Medical education and health-care technology development have been continuously improved for decades. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, speeds up the processes of changes and development. The concept and activities of distant education were not accepted in the past, because of the belief that “Humanized Medicine” could be introduced into medical students only by on-site education,are now accepted and applied worldwide. More and more technologies on distant medical education and competency evaluation have been developed and adopted. Our Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital has started using these technologies conscientiously since the beginning of the outbreak in Thailand. Students can now attend the synchronous and asynchronous classes both by online and on-demand. Some interesting facilitieshave beenadded; e.g. interactive multimedia, interactive video. In the near future, as the result of working together between our Department of Medical Education and our Division of Information, artificial intelligence (AI) and learning analytics will be used to establish the “Adaptive Learning”, which will improve the quality of our medical education.
Although tele-consultation in health care has existed in Thailand for years, tele-medicine on the contrary just started during the pandemic. To avoid the major outbreak,Siriraj Hospital and several other hospitals reduced the hospital services to minimum, except for the emergency cases, during mid-March to mid-April. After the outbreak could be controlled during the second half of April, we resumed the hospital services with new models to prevent the spreading of the infection in case of another wave of the outbreak. The principle of keeping physical distancing supports us to introduce tele-medicine as a part of health-care services. Since the medical council of Thailand set up the regulations and standard of tele-medicine in August, many hospitals including our Siriraj Hospital have offered tele-medicine and tele-consultation to the patients. The process starts with : 1) patients make appointment on-line requesting to see the physicians via the tele-medicine route; 2) hospital officers check whether the case is suitable for tele-medicine (initial inclusion criteria include patients with known diagnosis of non-infectious diseases, stable condition withclear dose of medication, full-conscious or being with sensible and communicable relatives at the time of seeing the physicians); 3) hospital officers check about the technical aspects of distant communication; 4) hospital officers confirm the appointment time and date with relevant physicians and the patients; and 5) hospital officers reconfirm the appointment a day prior to the schedule date. At present, approximately 5% of our suitable patients enjoy these facilities. However, our target is to have at least 10% of suitable patients enrolled. Moreover, we are now preparing for tele-rehabilitation by using the interactive multimedia technology.
Apart from tele-medicine and tele-rehabilitation, the Faculty of Engineering of Mahidol University produces medical robots assisting the hospital services. There are several kinds of robots doing different functions available now. More functions will be added in the near futureto make these robots versatile to be used, not only in the healthcare services but also in education and else.Cutting-edge technologies are expected to emerge from collaborative works between the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital and the Faculty of Engineering of Mahidol University, particularly those involve the artificial intelligence (AI). The combination of providing health-care information or education information by the Faculty of Medicine, setting up the algorithm of information and applying the technical aspects of AI by the Faculty of Engineering, will certainly produce new normal of activities withbetter performance.The COVID-19 pandemic is, therefore, the major catalyst of the global changes in medical education and technology development.