Aetna International expands into Thailand
One of the largest providers of international health benefits and services, global health care benefits provider Aetna International has opened its first health clinic in Bangkok, Thailand. Located in the Nichada district, the Aetna Family Clinic marks a big step forward in Aetna International’s ambitions to bring integrated health care services to local communities.
The new clinic brings international standards of primary care to the local residents of the Nichada Thani estate and the surrounding area. The clinic is open to all, including Aetna members and patients covered by other insurers and patients who will self-pay. Aetna members can also enjoy a seamless, coordinated journey between their Aetna health insurance cover and primary care needs.
The clinic offers multilingual services and exceptional medical staff who specialise in a wide variety of medical conditions. The clinic will also offer consultations with visiting specialists in the areas of paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology and physical therapy.
“Nichada Thani is home to approximately 2,000 residents, with several thousand additional residents located in the surrounding Nonthaburi district. Due to limited primary care options locally, many simple medical cases used to require patients travelling to an outpatient facility in a local private hospital,” said Nick Potter, Managing Director, Thailand for Aetna International.
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“We believe that most of these cases can be resolved in a local primary care setting, which makes the Aetna Family Clinic an effective solution that saves the patients’ time, money, and spares them from unnecessary anxiety.”
The opening of the Aetna Family Clinic follows Aetna International’s acquisition of Bupa Thailand in July 2017, as the company looks to go ‘broader and deeper’ into the local health care markets. Beyond providing quality health insurance, Aetna International aims to create an ecosystem of connected health services - to help their members get the best possible care from increasingly complex health care environments.
“By building our capabilities to provide an integrated service that takes care of our members’ health, we’ll be able to provide a differentiated experience that we believe will lead to improved patient outcomes,” commented Derek Goldberg, Managing Director, Asia Pacific for Aetna International.
“This is a unique proposition that we are confident will serve our members’ health well and accelerate our growth not just in Thailand, but also elsewhere in the region.”
Advances in health "must ensure self-sovereign identity"
The UK government has announced that from September onwards COVID-19 vaccine passports will be necessary to gain entry into places with large crowds, such as nightclubs.
This has reignited the debate between those who believe having proof of vaccinations will enable people to gather in public places and travel safely, and those who view the digital certificates as an attack on personal freedom.
The arguments have increased in intensity since the recent announcement to drop COVID-19 restrictions in England, in a move to reopen the economy that has attracted fierce criticism both domestically and overseas.
Cross-party ministers are set to defy the government’s latest plans to introduce vaccine passports over civil liberties concerns. A number of MPs have already signed the Big Brother Watch declaration against “Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs” in recent months.
However Mark Shaw, CEO of Tento Applied Sciences, says the Big Brother Watch campaign is based on false assumptions. “Big Brother Watch puts forward a compelling argument based around civil liberties, but some of the assumptions they make are simply incorrect” he says.
“For example, the BBW campaign claims that all Covid passes are discriminatory, counterproductive and would lead to British citizens having to share personal health information with anyone in authority, from bouncers to bosses. However, there are already privacy-first digital wallets that give individuals the freedom to store and share anonymised medical documents, work credentials and other types of documentation quickly, simply, and securely.
“I wholeheartedly agree that individuals should not be required to share their own personal health information with unknown third parties or with anyone in authority who demands it" Shaw adds. "But I strongly disagree with the suggestion that ‘events and businesses are either safe to open for everyone, or no one’. It creates a false dichotomy that either everyone is safe, or nobody is safe. If employers or event organisers don’t take action to properly manage workplace or venue safety, then they risk curtailing the safety and freedom of movement for the majority."
The subject of personal health data is under scrutiny in the UK at the moment, following controversial plans for the NHS to share patient data with third parties. These have been put on hold following public criticism.
Meanwhile a new report has found that the majority of the British public is willing to embrace digital healthcare tools such as apps and digital therapies prescribed by a trusted healthcare professional.
Shaw adds: “The vital point to make is this: innovations in health technology must ensure self-sovereign identity. This means the data held about an individual is owned by the individual and stored on their device. And, in the case of medical data, that data can be delivered from healthcare professionals to the device in an encrypted format, and the user chooses how they share their information."