China Thailand Healthcare Industry Insights

Thailand Healthcare

Quality and affordable medical fees have made Thailand the world’s leading country for medical tourism boasting over 2 million medical tourists in 2012 and commanding an annual growth rate of 14% in this sector. It is no surprise that Thailand is given the title of “World’s Most Visited Medical Tourism Destination”. With a GDP of US$365.6 billion that is growing at 6.4% annually, Thailand displays a strong and promising economic outlook for healthcare businesses.

Thailand is currently facing an ageing population and rising mortality rate crisis. In 2013, 9.8%% of the population is 65 years and above and this number is expected to increase to 14.9% in 2030. Also, mortality rate has risen from 6.75 per 1000 people in 2004 to 7.38 per 1000 people in 2010.

Thailand Disease Burden and Pattern.

Top 5 Causes of death in 2004- 2011

There is an increasing number of death from heart diseases and hypertension and stroke diseases. Smaller numbers of death from accidents and poisonings due to more strict regulations from the government and better education about road safety and driving behavior.

Top 5 Causes of death in 2004- 2011

Diseases of the respiratory system is the main cause of OPD visits in Thailand. Number of OPD has an increasing trend as a result of healthcare scheme, covering medical expense of most population.

Top 5 Causes of death in 2004- 2011

Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases has the highest growth rate in which the number of patient increases approximately 4 times since 2006. There is a continuously growing trend in all top-five diseases with a rapid change in 2010.

Thailand Medical Tourism.

Thailand Medical Tourism has been growing rapidly over the past 5 years in terms of number of patients and revenue.

Number of foreign patients arriving in Thailand, 2007-2011.

Number of foreign patients arriving in Thailand, 2007-2011

Initiated in 2003 by the controversial former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the Medical Tourism Promotion project highlighted Thailand’s high quality medical services at relatively more competitive prices to developed countries. The Tourism Authority of Thailand sets high growth expectations for medical tourism. It expects the AEC agreements to even boost further foreign patients growth while facilitating the circulation of people within ASEAN Member countries

3 key groups of foreigners:

  • Foreign residents
  • Tourists
  • Visitors seeking specific medical treatments

Popular medical treatments:

  • Orthopedics
  • Heart Surgery
  • Cosmetic Surgery
  • Dental Works
In 2012, it is estimated that 2.53 million foreign patients paid USD 4.9 billion for health care services in Thailand.
Hospital segmentation in Thailand
Public hospital

The main investment objective of the government is to provide nationwide healthcare service coverage. Hospitals are divided according to sophistication of services. Patients with severe case will be refer to the nearest better equipped facilities.

Public hospital

Private hospital

Currently, there are 321 private hospital nationwide. Similar to other businesses, private hospitals aim to maximize their resource to generate income. Maintaining health and treatment has become key selling point of private hospitals.

Listed-chain Hospital
There are 8 hospital listed in the Stock Exchange of Thailand:

  1. Aikchol Hospital (AHC)
  3. Krungdhon Hospital (KDH)
  4. Lanna Hospital(LNH)
  5. Mahachai Hospital (M-CHAI)
  6. Ramkhanhaeng Hospital (RAM)
  7. Samitivej Hospital (SVH)
  8. Vibhavadi Hospital (VIBHA)

Provincial Private Hospital

  • Provincial private hospital are generally mid to small size hospitals, facilitating needs for faster and more comfortable services compare to public hospital

Thailand Summary of key healthcare industry trend and implications.

Thailand Public hospital.

General profile

Medical school Special regional and general hospital Other public hospital
  • Both medical schools and specialized medical research institutions
  • Equipped with leading personal and advance medical device for super tertiary care
  • Serving government policy in healthcare service coverage as both treatment provider and training ground for medical students
  • Equipped with moderately advance medical device
  • Providing mostly general secondary care to the public
  • Generally, there are very limited number of specialists

Opportunity for Medical Treatment

  • A starting point of training and research of medical students and a key influencer in choices of medical devices
  • Require advance technology of medical device and procedure for both education and treatment purpose
  • Tender purchasing process, enable multi-brand purchasing
  • Tender purchasing process, enable multi-brand purchasing
  • More special regional and general hospital can be expected in response of creating local doctors outside Bangkok
  • More advanced medical equipment is expected as training equipments
  • Tender purchasing process, enable multi-brand purchasing
  • Telemedicine is expected to play an important part in lesson the stress of specialist shortage outside Bangkok

Thailand Private hospital.

General profile

Listed-chain private hospital Provincial private hospital
  • Large private hospitals, mostly have headquarter in Bangkok and vicinities
  • Centralized purchasing decision, generally focus on one brand
  • Mid and small size hospitals, generally a standalone with no branch
  • Some hospitals are less equipped than regional hospitals

Opportunity for Medical Treatment

  • JCI standard is expected to drive the investment in facility and medical device in order to stay on top of the competition and also the destination for medical tourism
  • M&A of provincial private hospital is expected to drive the investment in facilities, equipment and personnel to maintain the standard
  • Minimal opportunity, due to shortage of specialists and low demand for investment
Physicians, Surgeons, and Anesthetists are the top three specialist shortages.

Physicians, surgeons, and anesthetists are on the list of top three specialist shortages for both now and in the 6 years from now. Taking into account, population structure and medical school attendants, physicians shortage will increase significantly due to aging population. Universal health care scheme, expansion of private hospitals, rising numbers of chronic disease patients along with rising expectations to receive treatments from specialists are all aggravating the specialist shortage situations.

Current Medical Specialist Shortage

Physicians, Surgeons, and Anesthetists are the top three specialist shortages

Future Medical Specialist Shortage, 2019

Physicians, Surgeons, and Anesthetists are the top three specialist shortages

5,600 Family Physicians required in public hospitals for efficient and effective utilization of medical specialists.

Currently, any patients in Thailand can without any filtering by general practitioners or family physicians, access medical specialists – this led to inefficiency, redundancy, and unnecessary diagnostic and treatments. To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical specialists utilization, 5,600 family physicians are needed. Family physician role is to provide primary and secondary care while lessening the burden or tertiary care providers by preventing unnecessary patients access to tertiary care.

5,600 Family Physicians required in public hospitals for efficient and effective utilization of medical specialists.

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