“You don’t have to be ill to go to hospital. One visit can save your life,” Dr. Seeharach Lohachitranont, Hospital Director, Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai told Citylife, on the occasion of the hospital’s 9th anniversary.
QUOTE “The brain is an area which needs to be cared for from middle age stimulation to defer deterioration. It may be something you don’t want to think about today, but it can be life-changing and life-lengthening.”
“Our focus here at Bangkok Hospital, Chiang Mai, is on preventive medicine, not just curative medicine,” he continued, as he explained to Citylife the vision of the fastest growing hospital in the city. In the picturesque city of Chiang Mai, a remarkable social movement has taken hold – one that celebrates and promotes healthy aging. “Chiang Mai Age-friendly Society,” has become a beacon of inspiration, offering a blueprint for fostering vitality, well-being, and a sense of community among its senior residents. “There are many expatriates living and retiring here. Many people in their sixties are fit and strong and will live for many more years and decades. We would like to be able to work with them so that they can mitigate future risks and stay as strong for as long as possible. As they age, we have also come to realise that they aren’t just interested in stylish retirement homes and modern facilities; what is most important is community. They don’t want condos and properties, they want social interaction, safety and care. All of this we are integrating into our approach.”
“Sleeplessness affects work, can lead to obesity and bad health”, said the Doctor. “Another group we want to work with are the younger expatriates, the digital nomads, the business owners, the English teachers, and whoever at times have a highly stressful life and this is the age when they need to adjust their lifestyles so that they can prevent or defer future illnesses. The brain is also an area which needs to be cared for, especially requiring middle age stimulation to defer deterioration. We have a sleep clinic as well as many services which can help with regular checkups and methods on reducing stress. These are all services we wish to promote as it may be something you don’t want to think about today, but it can be life-changing and life-lengthening.”
Dr. Seeharach went on to say, “we are coming out of the pandemic with many new approaches to how we provide medical services. It has been fascinating to have learnt so much from Covid-19. The way we work has changed. And our approach to healthcare is now also different from before. With so much medical services provided outside the traditional norms, from tele medicine, home delivery of pharmaceuticals and conducting lab tests from home, we had to do a lot of rethinking. Now we need to work around the patient, offering them as much convenience and care as possible. It has been clear that many patients have not returned to traditional methods of seeking medical help, so we must pivot to meet their needs. This has allowed us to change how we approach healthcare as a whole.”
Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai belongs to the near six-decades old Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Group, BDMS, Thailand’s largest private healthcare group, which means that the hospital has access to the phenomenal amount of medical expertise provided by all of the physicians across the group, the latest and best medical equipment and technology, decades of aggregated medical data, as well as world class facilities.
After opened its doors nine years ago, Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai spending the first five years establishing itself as a centre of medicine, providing medical services to many Thais and expats in the community and gaining a reputation for efficient and effective medical services, mainly provided to private patients with comprehensive insurance or financial means. Like so many of us, the pandemic changed everything, and the hospital is now ready to expand its vision, its ambitions, its services and its facilities to draw international patients as well as to reach out to the general public to offer urgent and specialised services.
“We have the capacity to do so much more,” continued Dr. Seeharach. “this July marks our 9th Anniversary, we consequently have launched our campaign to promote preventive medicine (see https://www.bangkokhospital-chiangmai.com/en/9th-anniversary-the-step-ahead-from-curative-to-preventive/ ) with our unwavering passion for preventing heart disease but building a heart-healthy community in Chiang Mai. Heart disease is a severe condition that ranks among the leading causes of death but the great news is that for the most part, it is preventable through simple lifestyle changes. By adopting a healthy diet, prioritizing restful sleep, and reducing stress, individuals have the power to safeguard their heart health without waiting until illness strikes.
“With this in mind, we are actively promoting the use of the CV Risk score to help people in Chiang Mai, both Thai and expatriates alike, assess their own risk of heart disease. This self-assessment takes just 2 minutes of your time and allows you to determine your personal risk level. (https://www.bangkokhospital-chiangmai.com/en/cardiovascular-disease-risk-score/ ) If there is an indication of elevated risk, we strongly recommend undergoing a comprehensive cardiovascular health check-up with our team of expert physicians at your convenience.
“Another exciting area we are working on genetics mapping. With Asia’s growing database of genetic medical information, we are now able to help patients with longevity and long term health by assessing their genetics. But this has to go hand in hand with working on the environment itself, and to that end, we need to work with authorities on matters such as air pollution and other factors which generate illness. We are starting off in-house, with high quality air purifiers and many other implementations, including setting up a clean and organic kitchen. Genetics and environment aside, lifestyle is a factor no patient can ignore, and we offer multiple services to help patients with their lifestyle management from our sleep clinic to weight reduction programmes. By pooling all of the resources of the largest group of hospitals in Thailand, we can study and learn from experience enabling us to help mitigate our patients’ risks. It all starts with assessment and integrated checkups.” Dr. Seeharach added that new data reveals that Chiang Mai has 8,000 new cases of cancer each year, so much of which can be cured, if detected early.
“To become a centre of medical excellence, we need to do more,” insisted Dr. Seeharach. “Today we are servicing the private sector, with mainly expatriate patients who have insurance or money. But we need to expand our customer base so that we can gain international confidence and recognition, which in turn will allow us to provide even more care to more people. We want to be an integral part of helping the people of the north of Thailand to live longer and healthier lives. Right now we are already providing free services for acute care such as those suffering from accidents, strokes or trauma. For instance, we are working and training local authorities on initial care for critical patients, we now work with Pai authorities who send their trauma patients to us and we even have an ambulance on standby in Mae Taeng District where many tourists can sometimes be injured.”
Chiang Mai has excellent medical facilities due to the fact that we have medical hospitals. Dr. Seeharach has been positioning Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai’s strategy to support this vision. “Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai needs to be an integral part of this vision and system, playing to our strengths. Chiang Mai has a unique proposition in that it has excellent service; in fact, service is in our DNA, something much appreciated by patients when undergoing medical care. We also have a great soft power in our food, our culture, our language, our attractions and entertainment. However, we can’t do this alone. We need to work with airlines, with government bodies to set policies and with other private sector businesses. All of this we are doing. For instance we are liaising with many hotels in the city so that we can provide in-house post medical care.”
We are currently building a new building complex, adding a further 270 beds with a plaza to support relatives and friends with comfortable areas and activities. To further advance the BDMS green hospital implementation, we incorporate energy-saving technologies, such as installing solar roofs on our car parks This initiative reflects our ongoing commitment as the pioneering Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building in ASEAN, accredited by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) since 2016.
Dr. Seeharach ended by repeating his sobering mantra, “Thanks to the great leaps taken in modern medicine in recent years, if a disease is detected early, the chances are very good that it can be treated. It is a reason we encourage Chiangmai people to expand their network within the healthcare community for healthy living.”
Uncover the path to a healthier and more fulfilling life at Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai’s upcoming event, “Longevity with Healthy Aging: Chiang Mai Lifestyle”! (https://www.facebook.com/events/823074462483853)
Date: 27th July 2023
Time: 1:30 pm onwards
Location: Bangkok Hospital Chiang Mai, 4th floor Meeting Room
To search medical services and facilities, visit: www.bangkokhospital-chiangmai.com/en