Research and Policy Synergism for Advancing People-centered Care in Thailand

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Yongyuth Pongsupap


Thailand’s health system, dating back to the 1880s, was traditionally anchored in hospital medicine. Thus, when the family medicine concept was introduced in the 1980s, it was immediately perceived as relating to a hospital-based doctor without a specific specialization. Workforce is a crucial issue for the reform. Overall shortage of human resources is not the only issue. In each facility there should be staff fit to function. The question of human resources can indeed be tackled only when there is an agreement on what is expected from first line services that are close to the population.When the push for universal health coverage gained political momentum starting in Ayutthaya province, in the 1990s, primary care reform became necessary and urgent. It was within this context that person-centered care, family medicine, and community-based care finally made headway in Thailand’s hospital-centered medical culture.  A strategy which proved instrumental in facilitating the reforms was that of ‘demonstration’ and ‘diffusion’. The idea behind the ‘demonstration health centers’ was to develop and display the family practice concept in a few selected areas in order to stimulate interest and demand for primary health care towards person- and people-centered care [1,2].  When the universal coverage policy was adopted some years later, family practice as a cornerstone for health sector development had already proven its worth and was therefore taken up as a tested model of care.

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Author Biography

Yongyuth Pongsupap, National Health Security Office, Nonthaburi, Thailand

Dr Yongyuth Pongsupap, he is now a Senior Expert of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), ThailandEducation and training1989       Graduated MD  Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand1994       Board Certification of Preventive Medicine (Public Health)           Medical Council, Bangkok, Thailand1996       Master in Public Health (Health System Development)   Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium2001       Board Certification of Family Medicine   Medical Council, Bangkok, Thailand2007       PhD*     Faculty of Medicine, University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel: VUB), Brussels, Belgium*Thesis for PhD on “Introducing a human dimension to Thai health care: the case for family practice”International Publications (peer review journals)Pongsupap Y, Van Lerberghe W (2010): People-centred medicine and WHO’s renewal of primary care, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.01587Kitreerawutiwong N, Kuruchittham V, Somrongthong R, Pongsupap Y (2009):  Seven attributes of primary care in Thailand, Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, May, 14.De Maeseneer J, Moosa S, Pongsupap Y, Kaufman A (2008): Primary health care in a changing world, the British Journal of General Practice, Nov;58(556):806-9, i-ii.Phongsuphap S, Pongsupap Y, Chandanamattha P,  Lursinsap C (2008): Changes in heart rate variability during concentration meditation, the International Journal of Cardiology (electronic published ahead of print, in press for hard copy) doi:10.1016/j. ijcard.2007.06.103Pongsupap Y and Van Lerberghe W (2006): Is motivation enough? Responsiveness, patient-centredness, medicalisation and cost in self-styled Family Practice and conventional care in Thailand, the Journal of Human Resources for Health, Vol 4:19, available at: Y and Van Lerberghe W (2006): Is motivation enough? Patient experience with self-styled family practices and conventional primary care in Thailand, the Asia Pacific Family Medicine Journal Vol 5 (1), available at Y and Van Lerberghe W (2006): Choosing between public and private or between hospital and primary care? Responsiveness, patient-centredness and prescribing for outpatients in Bangkok. the Journal of Tropical Medicine & International Health: Vol II (I): 81-89Nittayarumphong S, Srivanichakorn S, and Pongsupap Y (2000): Strategies to respond to health manpower need in Thailand, in Ferrinho, P. and Van Lerberghe, W., editors. Practicing health care under adverse circumstances. Studies in Health Series Organisation & Policy 16: 55–72


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