First-of-its-kind Index reveals Thailand’s positive progress towards Personalised Healthcare:
Highlights opportunities and addresses key areas of focus to achieve better outcomes for more patients
From Left to Right: Sirintip Kudtiyakarn, President of the Thai Cancer Society (TCS), Dr. Sirasak Teparkum, Director of Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), Farid Bidgoli, General Manager, Roche Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, Dr. Luxmon Attapich, Deputy Secretary General, Investment and International Affairs of the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee (EEC), Dr. Nares Damrongchai, Chief Executive Officer of Genepeutic Bio Co., Ltd and former Director of Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), Nopporn Chuenklin, MD, Director of Health System Research Institute (HSRI), Kultida Leenabanchong, Communications Lead, Roche Thailand Limited
18 February 2021 – Today, the FutureProofing Healthcare initiative, led by a panel of 15 leading healthcare experts across Asia-Pacific, announced the launch of the Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index. This first-of-its-kind, data-driven policy tool measures the readiness of 11 health systems across the region including Thailand to adopt personalised healthcare – enabling the right care to be tailored to the right person at the right time.
The Index is built on robust, publicly available, credible and open-source data supplemented with input from public health authority representatives across APAC and validated by a panel of independent healthcare experts including Dr. Nares Damrongchai, Executive Chairman, Genepeutic Bio Co., Ltd and former Director of Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS). The FutureProofing Healthcare initiative – supported by Roche – aims to help stakeholders across health ecosystems understand local, national, and regional strengths and needs. It also helps enable tailored, data-driven decision-making and encourages best practice sharing across the region to drive conversations and guide actions to improve health system readiness.
Health systems across Asia-Pacific, including in Thailand are facing challenges related to growing populations, and rising costs, which have only been compounded by the rise of non-communicable diseases and the current COVID-19 pandemic. This coupled with limited Research and Development (R&D) Expenditure and Social Mobility are presenting major challenges that Thailand needs to overcome. Adopting more personalised approaches can improve health system efficiencies by helping decision-makers prioritise their efforts and resources, and initiate policies and frameworks that support healthcare innovation.
The Personalised Health Index measures performance against 27 different indicators of personalised health across four categories called 'Vital Signs'. These include (1) Policy Context, (2) Health Information, (3) Personalised Technologies, and (4) Health Services.
While, regionally, the Index reveals significant disparities between the countries measured, encouragingly, the results show that this transition towards personalised healthcare is underway and gaining momentum in Thailand as well. Challenges around urban-rural disparities and building digital infrastructure impact lower-scoring territories, several of which are at the very early stages of personalised healthcare. Furthermore, the index revealed the highest scoring countries are Singapore, Taiwan and Japan, while Thailand is placed seventh and also received a lower total score than the group average with Indonesia in last place.
Table: Overall Asia Pacific Personalised Health Index 2020 performance1
Nopporn Chuenklin, MD, Director of Health System Research Institute (HSRI) emphasizes the benefits of implementing personalised healthcare in the Thai public health system as quoted, “The Health System Research Institute has established many important health policies within Thailand which includes health insurance, health assembly projects and many more. Additionally, we are at the forefront of driving the use of Big Data to increase efficiency within the health system by acquiring strategic partnerships with leading health experts to help the Ministry of Public Health and the health system of Thailand. Thus, we strive to achieve the common goal to deliver happy, healthy and long lives to the general Thai public as well as providing accessible and comprehensive personalised healthcare that is tailored to meet the needs of patients”.
To achieve long-term resilience, health systems must strive for a personalised healthcare framework that leverages data, analytics and technology to generate meaningful insights, inform decision-making, drive innovation supporting both individual and population health – and empowers patients to manage their health.
Dr. Luxmon Attapich, Deputy Secretary General, Investment and International Affairs of the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee (EEC) stated “The advancement of personalised healthcare presents a business opportunity for the medical industry which is one of the most important industries. In the past, Thailand has accelerated the Genomics Thailand project, where EEC will serve as the data analysis centre. Therefore, this is a great opportunity to leverage synergies to drive medical advancement in personalized healthcare which will help guide Thailand towards becoming a leader in personalised healthcare within APAC.”
Country performance in the Index varied most on the “Policy Context” measure, owing to factors like limitations on access to data for health research and a lack of capacity to deliver personalised health-related services in the workforce. While Thailand is leading in the aspect of Personalised Health strategy and has strong data collection capabilities, there are still rooms for improvement when it comes to policy. Specifically, Thailand is ranked eighth for social mobility hence indicating a potential area of improvement as health outcomes are inextricably linked to social factors such as housing, employment and nutrition. The Index also revealed the lowest average performance for countries on “Personalised Technologies” (measuring use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health and uptake of wearable health technologies etc.), indicating an opportunity to focus on future improvement. Additionally, findings highlight Thailand’s weakness in Personalised Technology, as the country is lagging in last place for this category. Thus signals the need to strengthen the country’s technological infrastructure to further accommodate the growing demands for personalised healthcare.
"Personalised health is not a new concept to health systems across Asia-Pacific, but we finally have the tools and infrastructure to implement it. The right policy-making will be crucial to ensure its successful roll-out in the region." said Dr. Nares Damrongchai, Executive Chairman, Genepeutic Bio Co., Ltd and former Director of Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), one of the public health experts involved in the development of the Index. "Thailand is starting to build on the foundations for personalised healthcare which includes formulating and implementing plans that aim to enable personalised healthcare. In addition, Thailand has strong data collection capabilities that can support limited aspects of personalised care. Strengthening the digital infrastructure, increasing investment in research and development, streamlining regulatory processes, improving access to digital health services and technologies, and building capacity in the healthcare workforce are potential focus areas for Thailand. In addition, there is a need for an emphasis on health equity to address issues of access and quality in Thailand as it makes its transition to personalised healthcare."
“We are proud to support this novel, data-driven initiative to measure and accelerate progress towards personalised healthcare in Thailand. FutureProofing Healthcare brings together core elements of Roche’s vision for a better future for healthcare, including innovation in treatment, advances in technology, understanding of human biology and the ability to analyse data to make the promise of personalised healthcare a reality. One of the Key findings in the PHC Index highlighted the fact that reimbursement and access to targeted diagnostics and therapies were not available universally in Thailand. Therefore, we are committed to working in partnership with policymakers to leverage the opportunities and address key areas of focus highlighted in the Index, to ensure Thailand continues to develop more resilient and sustainable health systems that work better for the people who need them." said Farid Bidgoli, General Manager, Roche Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
The Index findings have also been published in a whitepaper “Getting to Personalised Healthcare in APAC” coordinated by the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies and informed by expert insights from across Asia-Pacific. The whitepaper also includes several policy recommendations based on the Index findings to help accelerate this transformation in the region.
The Personalised Health Index and whitepaper are now available on FutureProofingHealthcare.com.
 Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index 2020. Available at: [https://futureproofinghealthcare.com/thailand-personalised-health-index] Last accessed 28 January 2021.
 Getting to Personalised Healthcare in APAC: Findings, insights and recommendations. Published January 2021. Available at: [https://futureproofinghealthcare.com/knowledge-base/getting-personalised-healthcare-apac] Last accessed 28 January 2021.