KMITL to incubate medical innovators
medical innovations in focus
King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) showcases medical innovations developed by an integration of state-of-the-art engineering and medical knowledge with creativity. The innovations are major starting point for the institute to soon realize its goal to become Thailand’s medical innovator incubator.
Prof. Dr. Suchatvee Suwansawat, KMITL’s President, said: “Thailand is known as the medical hub of the region with strong reputation in health and wellness service. As the country is becoming an ageing society in the near future, we foresee the rising demand for health and wellness services as well as medical treatment. Coupled with the fact that Thailand welcomes more than 25 million foreign visitors per year, the country has very high burden in taking good care of everyone’s health. This also brings the rise in expenses on medical equipment import.”
To address this issue and help the country faces this challenge better, KMITL is preparing its KMITL International Medical College, which is scheduled for opening in 2018, to play an important role in supporting medical innovation development. KMITL has assigned the KMITL’s Research and Innovation Services Office, which has outstanding performance in medical equipment and innovation development project, to work closely with the medical college in integrating all knowledge and excellence, from biomedical engineering, engineering, architecture and science. The main objectives are:
- Incubate “global doctors” who have in-depth academic knowledge in general and specialized medicine as well as great research and development skill and medical healthcare innovation development
- Promote medical innovation development that best address the needs of medical professionals, patients and hospitals
- Become the center for medical equipment and innovation research and development as well as database about medical knowledge, patent and commercial production
Prof. Dr. Suchatvee added: “The KMITL International Medical College will grow a network with other medical centers and hospitals in Bangkok to promote technological cooperation and realize the benefits for the country from local innovations.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ittipol Jangchud, Director of KMITL’s Research and Innovation Services, said: “KMITL has been working on medical innovations for some time as we are aware of our responsibility to support the national development sustainability. We have been trying to add value to the local raw materials and resources we have, especially bara rubber which has been used widely in public health sector for making gloves, injection set, diagnosis tools, etc.”
Using bara rubber in medical equipment manufacture is an effective way to increase value for the local production. At present 87% of local bara rubber production is exported as raw rubber while 13% is used for producing other products, such as automotive parts and medical equipment. However, the value of both raw rubber for export and processed rubber products are equal, meaning that there is high potential for the country to generate more revenue by increasing the volume of processed rubber production as well as to reduce import burden on medical equipment.
“KMITL has realized this for some time and been working continuously to improve bara rubber quality and find ways to create more value. This results in a series of medical equipment innovations, such as the rubber bust used for breast cancer diagnosis training for medical students and general public and artificial breasts that mix natural rubber and silicone to produce nearly natural breasts for breast cancer patients,” said Assoc. Prof. Ittipol.
Other innovations jointly developed with leading public hospitals are
- Albumin Smart Test kit
- iOS Application for Ptosis Diagnosis
- Rehabilitation kit for hand and arm muscles
Prof. Dr. Anan Srikiatkachorn, Acting Dean, KMITL International Medical College, said: “The KMITL International Medical College will play a key role in such development by making the research process even more complete. We will help collect the real demand of patients and medical team which can be used as the starting point for innovation development. We can serve as a place where innovation is tested and collect statistics on actual implementation. We will then provide these statistics and observation during the test for the research team to use for improving the invention and to produce the prototype. We will support patent registration so that commercial production can be materialized.”
The scope of innovation development will cover four target areas namely, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and training innovations.
KMITL International Medical College, with its goal to train medical innovators and medical practitioners, will play an important role in this medical innovation development process. This will enable the country to reduce national dependency on imported medical equipment and innovation. At the same time, graduates from the college will be ready to become “global doctor” with good English proficiency, positive attitude, good understanding of cultural sensitivities and research and innovation development skills. The college will initially open for 40-50 students and the courses are conducted by experienced doctors and academics in Thailand and other countries. The students will have clinical training at Sirindhorn Hospital and Lat Krabang Hospital under Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s operations.