Principal Capital keen on telemedicine trend

Digital healthcare and telemedicine businesses have grown exponentially over the past year-and-a-half thanks to increased demand for online medical services as patients avoid travel to hospitals.

Satit Viddayakorn, managing director of Principal Capital Plc (PRINC), which operates several private hospitals and real estate developers, said the recent Delta variant outbreak has forced medical businesses to digitalise and operate online to facilitate patients that need medical care, but are hesitant to physically travel to hospitals.

According to Mr Satit, the telemedicine business has grown significantly in the last 1.5 years.

The technology enables doctors and nurses to remotely treat and care for patients through virtual meetings on their smartphones, especially Covid-19 patients.

This method of treatment allows doctors and nurses to reach more patients, including medical personnel caring for patients in field hospitals or community isolation wards as well as patients staying at home as part of the home isolation scheme.

“The emergence of home isolation will disrupt the healthcare business forever,” he said.

“From now on, patients won’t feel the need to come to hospitals unless they need to be admitted. The pandemic is likely to remain with us at least 3-4 more years.”

Mr Satit said the company plans to upload its patients’ data onto a blockchain, but it still has concerns about security and the patient’s right to privacy.

He said for future investment, Principal Capital aims to expand its hospital chain to cover 20 provinces, up from 10 currently.

This expansion plan is expected to take three years to complete, said Mr Satit.

The company also wants to expand to 100 clinics with “gold-card care” nationwide, increasing from 13 at present, while establishing six home centres for elderly patients, starting in Bangkok, he said.

The company prepared funding for investment of around 5.5 billion baht from private placements of stock, sales of property assets, and bank loans, said Mr Satit.

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