Healthcare in Thailand – Where's the potential?

Wednesday, 30 December 2021

Predictions are hard, especially about the future. One year ago, nobody would have believed it would be facemasks that would get us through the current pandemic. But we still need vaccines and technology solutions for a permanent fix.

What's on the horizon in general for healthcare? Three forces are occurring simultaneously:

  • Ageing demographics
  • Sophistication of medical tools and treatment
  • Digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI)

What's realistic for Thailand?

Thailand's 'Great Leap' Opportunity

The ageing population points to a growing domestic market that will need more medical and healthcare treatment. Elderly folks are most at risk for disease and disability. The proportion of older persons will increase from 16.9% in 2016 to nearly 30% by 2050. 

In addition to the domestic demand for medical services, Thailand is a leader in medical tourism – serving travellers for annual check-ups, wellness solutions and medical treatments.

Thailand's bigger potential, however, is healthcare tourism for the ageing demographic which is evident in the emerging investments made by both medical and non-medical groups here. This would mean a paradigm shift from short term event-based care to longer term process care. The shift is worth considering because according to the U.N., the number of persons aged 65 years or over in the world is projected to double to 1.5 billion in 2050.

Everyone wants to age with a good quality of life – a longer lifespan with better lifestyle. Lifestyle is a matter of personal choice, but most people in the West would agree that escaping winter months, which can be hard on the elderly, is desirable.

If access to medical and healthcare treatment is affordable, then lifestyle is only further measured by the availability of daily luxuries and high-quality services.

Thailand's tropical climate and reasonable cost of living is attractive for the elderly and retirees, all of whom are candidates for medical treatment and ongoing healthcare management. In addition, Thailand offers diversity – the big city living of Bangkok, the mountainous north and the beachy south.

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Source: Bangkok Post