NIA Pooling HealthTech And EdTech To Tackle Covid-19

NIA takes four measures pooling startups and innovation to cope with Covid-19 pandemic, linking HealthTech and EdTech with healthcare and education sectors.

Dr.Pun-Arj Chairatana, executive director of the National Innovation Agency (NIA), said the agency, through Yothi Medical Innovation District and Technology and Innovation based Enterprise Development Fund (TED Fund), has worked together with startups and innovation companies to tackle with Covid-19 pandemic.

The team developed a new app called DDC-Care that Thai people and foreigners who travelled from at-risk countries are required to download when they pass through the immigration screening checkpoints at the Immigration Bureau, the airports, ports, border checkpoints, totally 46 locations.

The app was jointly developed by the NIA, the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) , the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, the Digital Government Agency, Thammasat University and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency.

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) can access the data and provide recommendations for at-risk people, including those who develop Covid-19 symptoms. The app can also show travel journeys for those determined to be infected.

Reduction the patients’ visit at the hospitals and clinical networks of over 22 locations is an attempt of the team by working with HealthTech startups and it aims to decrease some 750,000 patients. The NIA’s team at Yothi Medical Innovation District will closely work with 22 HealthTech startups on health screening, basic health advice, tele-health consulting, basic diagnosis, patients care taking, and medical logistics. The patients screening via mobile app and basic diagnosis are worked by artificial intelligence technology which effectively reduces risks to healthcare workers and problem of shortage of infection prevention clothing.

NIA, meanwhile, is collaborating with innovative SMEs, the Federation of Thai Industries, NSTDA, the National Research Council of Thailand in getting ready for medical equipment and disposable supplies such as face masks, ventilators and other raw materials.

Applying innovative practices related to social distancing from more than 30 startups is another measure that NIA has been now working. Those include online administration, online meeting, data collection, document and parcel delivery, online learning and more.

Dr.Pun-Arj noted that the pandemic will create opportunities for startups to work with hospitals and education institutes because both healthcare providers and schools require technology for digital transformation. The HealthTech startups need to more focus on data privacy of patients, while the EdTech group will have more service space for education sector. In addition, the communication channel and Covid-19 update has been done via YMID AI Chatbot on Facebook, LINE@YMID and