Bangkok, Thailand – An enhancement of current standards for use of medical gases in Thai hospitals would significantly improve patient well-being and strengthen the reputation of Thailand as Asia’s leading hub for medical services.
Medical gas is a critical aspect of healthcare, particularly within intensive care, operating rooms and in emergency settings of hospitals. It is important that the quality of medical gases is professionally managed to ensure patient safety, reduce risks for the hospitals while at the same time support the Thai medical community in its advances.
Today, medical gases in Thailand follow a set of standards set by the Thai Industrial Standard Institute. These standards set a national benchmark for safety, said Ms. Lim Chwee Foon, Head of Healthcare, Asia Pacific for Linde. Ms. Lim suggested there is scope for further oversight of the medical gas as a drug due to the nature of its application in life support and critical treatment.
“Thailand is recognized for its world class hospitals – and having a stronger set of standards in place regarding the use of medical gas would enhance the reputation Thai hospitals further,” said Ms. Lim. “As Thailand builds its reputation as a world-class medical hub, migrating towards international standards for medical gas would add to Thailand’s leadership position.”
Leading healthcare markets around the world have strong oversight for medical gases. The U.S. and Europe use the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) to regulate medical gas – and increasingly in Asia countries are following suit. China implemented GMP nearly a decade ago and South Korea is close to doing so as well.
Examples of medical gases standards include guidelines around the manufacture, storage, delivery, maintenance, documentation of medical gases and related components. Linde places emphasis on three areas to ensure the safety and quality of its medical gases. These include: (1) Clearly defined manufacturing process; (2) Trained professionals with deep understanding of requirements for quality; and (3) Infrastructure and technology that determine supply reliability and purity.
Linde adheres to stringent internal guidelines – in Thailand, Linde medical gases are produced to European Pharmacopeia standards, which guarantees safety and quality for medical uses.
“To keep patients safe we should have stringent standards in place,” said Ms. Lim, who added that in addition to oversight, the industry must also seek out improvements through technology and innovation.
Linde has an innovation and research centre based in Europe – working jointly with healthcare professionals, clinicians and academics, Linde aims to enhance every aspect of the medical gas industry through continuous innovation.
In 2015, Linde introduced a new mobile oxygen cylinder with a mounted integrated valve pressure regulator. This cylinder, now available in Thailand, is designed to help healthcare staff work safely and more effectively. There is no change of regulators, no set up or handling of high filling pressure, and as such, no interruption to patient care.
“Linde is using digital technology to deliver better healthcare services,” said Ms. Lim. “This use of real time data is a major benefit for hospitals and patients.”
For example, Linde storage tanks at hospital sites are affixed with digital technology that provides feedback on volumes of available medical gas. This real-time monitoring eases challenges of supply chain management for hospital administrators – and ensures that hospitals always have gas when they need it most.
“In medical emergencies there is no second chance,” said Ms. Lim. “The gas must be the right quality and must be available when the doctors and patients need it.”
Globally Linde is also re-inventing the care model for people suffering from COPD and other respiratory illnesses that afflict aging populations: In the UK and Europe, Linde developed a programme in cooperation with governments and health regulators for elderly patients requiring long-term respiratory care. These care models help to increase space available in hospitals for patients requiring acute care.