originally published in Siriraj International News 30th issue October – December 2020
The rapid movement in digital transformation and the advanced technology in medical devices, such as the Internet of Things (IoTs), inundate the healthcare system with data like never before. This data, as we typically call “Big Data”, is leveraged to improve healthcare in unprecedented ways. Siriraj Hospital, the hospital of the land, is aware of the potential of the data and has been pursuing the current 5-year strategic plan that, in part, aims to transform the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital into a data-driven organization or an information-driven organization.
To support this strategy, Siriraj founded a new center named “Siriraj Informatics and Data Innovation Center” or “SiData+”, pronounced ess-i-data-plus, Si is for Siriraj, Data+ pictures data and its potential beyond the data itself. In this issue of Siriraj International Relations News, we are honored to have Asst. Prof. Prapat Suriyaphol, Director of Siriraj Informatics and Data Innovation Center to put in the picture the role of SiData+ and how Siriraj can become the smart hospital in the near future.
Data is widely regarded as being the power to unlock the future. “The example of the data usage, I can show you, is the COVID-19 situation in our hospital” said Asst. Prof. Prapat, “We have been working hard with many teams to make the necessary data available in a set of easy-to-understand dashboards. So our COVID-19 executive management team knows the current situation in near real time and can quickly respond to the uncertain situations. We need to know how many people are under investigation, how many cases are confirmed, how many beds are available, how severe patients are, and what about the medicine stock and medical equipment. This is the direct use of data and it’s crucial in our context right now.”
SiData+ Center was established under the objectives to support Faculty’s strategic plan. “The role of SiData+ can be divided into three main roles” explained Asst. Prof. Prapat, “The first role is Data Governance and Regulations, we need to ensure the quality of the data and to deal with security risks and compliance in an appropriate manner. Our move will be in accordance with the Thailand Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which will be in effect in June 2021.”
The second role is Data Management, in this part, we will prepare the data to be accessible for use by creating a well- equipped data ecosystem. The last role is Data Innovation & Usage; in this part we use the data via various channels, e.g., for internal collaboration, internal research and development, and external collaboration, including those with other faculties in Mahidol University or companies.”
The benefits that data users will gain from SiData+ is the empowerment of data usage. “We are pleased to provide high quality data so the users do not have to ask around or request numerous data owners to access the data.”
The journey of SiData+ is not a bed of roses. The human resources were and still are one of the obstacles in establishing the Center. “Although we receive good support from the Faculty, we are in need of data scientists who understand the context of health and medicine.” admitted Asst. Prof. Prapat, “Having said that, we are interested in not only data scientists, but also seeking to promote data champions in diverse units of the Faculty. Therefore, we need to proliferate the data literacy as widely and constructively as possible to be able to utilize the data effectively.”
The usage of data provided by SiData+ will also pave the way for the Health Information Exchange (HIE), which is the future plan of SiData+. “As we’re aware that Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital comprises three hospitals that are Siriraj Hospital, Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital, and Golden Jubilee Medical Center. With the shared data management platform via HIE, patients will be able to visit any of these three hospitals with their medical background linked together.” explained Asst. Prof. Prapat. “We are forming a team called SIL Thailand, which stands for Standards and Interoperability Lab Thailand to scale up the HIE to the whole country by setting up a sandbox and work together with Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society” Asst. Prof. Prapat noted. “COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate will be our first pilot project in the upcoming future by using qualified data to certify and allow the vaccinated people to travel.”
SiData+ is attempting to strive beyond the boundary of ordinary data usage for the ideal vision to unlock the better future.