The Importance of Health Literacy and Reducing Non-Emergency Hospital Visits

Health Literacy Needed to Reduce Non-Emergency Hospital Visits

A recent interview with Dr. Prasit Wattanapa, Advisor at the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital Mahidol University, highlights the need for improved health literacy to address non-emergency hospital visits. Dr. Prasit confirms that many patients seek medical care during off-hours for conditions that do not require immediate attention. To tackle this issue, it is crucial to raise awareness among the public about common illnesses and symptoms that do not warrant a visit to the hospital.

The Key Players in Healthcare

In discussing the government’s proposed gold card level upgrade, the interview emphasizes the importance of involving all stakeholders. Dr. Chonnan Srikaew, the Minister of Public Health, expressed concerns over potential increased workload for healthcare providers. It is essential to address this issue at all levels of healthcare delivery, starting with policymakers who shape health policies, followed by doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who implement these policies, and finally reaching the public as the recipients of healthcare services.

The Downstream Challenge

While efforts have been made to improve healthcare services, challenges persist in the downstream part of the healthcare system. Inadequate health literacy among the public leads to unnecessary hospital visits. Providing health education and information to enhance Health Literacy is crucial in empowering individuals to take better care of their health, understand diseases, and recognize when hospital visits are unnecessary.

Dr. Prasit warns that failure to address this issue will only exacerbate the problem, resulting in people visiting hospitals even when it is not an emergency. This not only strains healthcare resources but also hampers the efficiency of the entire system.

Overcoming the Challenges

Raising the level of health literacy among the public is key to resolving this issue. Achieving this goal requires budget allocation and concerted efforts from the government and healthcare providers. Although it may be a challenging task, Dr. Prasit emphasizes that there are no insurmountable obstacles in improving health literacy if it becomes a priority. The government plays a vital role in ensuring a better quality of life for the Thai people by addressing this issue with a clear focus.

Siriraj Hospital’s Approach

When asked about Siriraj Hospital’s stance on non-emergency visits outside working hours, Dr. Prasit explains that they engage in patient education. Drawing an example from Singapore, where patients are educated about non-emergency cases and the need to wait for proper checks, he highlights the importance of imparting such knowledge to Thai patients. It is crucial for patients to understand that a mild fever, for instance, may not require immediate medical attention and that their perception of emergencies may differ from healthcare professionals’. Health education thus plays a vital role in aligning patient expectations with appropriate medical care.

In conclusion, addressing the issue of non-emergency hospital visits requires a multifaceted approach. Enhancing health literacy among the public, allocating budgets effectively, and establishing clear goals are necessary steps in reducing the strain on healthcare resources and improving the quality of life for the Thai population.

“Dr Prasit” confirms that the patient’s problem is not an emergency. Hospitals can make corrections during off hours, emphasizing Health Literacy, making people aware of illness and what kind of symptoms do not need to come. You can take care of yourself Suggesting that the government must push this to be the first problem that needs to be solved. Help solve it faster.

Professor Dr Prasit Wattanapa, Adviser, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital Mahidol University Gave an interview about the new government gold card level upgrade case with Dr Chonnan Srikaew Minister of Public Health (Ministry of Public Health) Many sectors are concerned about the it could increase personnel workload. Including making non-urgent patients come to receive emergency services out of hours, from the current number which already has many This issue must be looked at upstream, mid-stream and downstream river Upstream is the health policy maker. In the middle is the one who implements the policy, namely doctors and nurses, health personnel and downstream are the recipients or the people. In the downstream part, we are still not doing well, therefore, if we provide Health Education or health information, Health Literacy, to understand and know about diseases. Letting you know you don’t need to go to hospital How to look after yourself. If this is not adjusted In the middle of the water it will be difficult. People who are not necessary will only come. Because during the working day He will come in the evening even though it is not an emergency. This is difficult and difficult to say.

“If downstream we don’t raise the level of people to understand the health system. It will be difficult in the middle of the water. It will go back up the river again. Budget allocation also has an impact. Which at the moment is still possible. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Personally, I think there is no problem that says it can’t be done. Whenever it is decided that the matter is urgent, it must be done. This problem will be solved quickly. But if this problem is not among the country’s first priorities yet, it will be slow to solve. This is the role and duty of every government. that must make the Thai people have a better quality of life But how is that done? I respect the government’s decision. But the goal must be clear. Raising the quality of life of Thai people,” said Professor Dr Prasit.

It was asked if Siriraj has a campaign for people not to come to emergencies outside working hours as well. Prof Dr Prasit said We will have an explanation with the patient. Our situation is not yet as serious as in Singapore. We have been to see him in Singapore. If not, we have to wait for all the emergency checks to be done before we can come for the check. But there it became a culture. Importantly, people who come know that they don’t have an emergency and that they have to wait, but Thai people are not educated on this kind of thing. Moreover, the interpretation of crises is not the same. We saw a child with a fever of 38 degrees, but he was fine. This is not an emergency. But another person is in shock. We have to look at that person. But for parents Our child has a fever of 38 degrees, so the definition of an emergency is different. Therefore, Health Education is important.

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