We started our day by visiting the preschool. We were greeted by strange looks and a few crying children who were scared by the foreigners. For most, if not all, of these children, it was the first time seeing a foreigner, specifically an American. So, it made sense as to why many of them were scared or anxious. Thankfully, they grew to like us as we helped them learn how to draw shapes, and sing the number and alphabet song. The most interesting thing that happened at the preschool is that we helped brush their teeth. Thailand has poor dental health, and as a public health initiative, they are trying to teach children proper dental hygiene. It is a smart idea to teach the children dental hygiene while they are in school because it is constant reinforcement. For many of them, this might be the only time they receive dental care. Because of this, the effectiveness is questionable. However, I think it is a great step towards addressing the dental health issue.
For lunch, we went to a local market and had some delicious food. Nat gave some great suggestions of which Thai snacks we should buy and at least try during our stay in Thailand. After, we were treated to some traditional Thai coconut ice cream!
In the evening, we were able to have a tour of the district level hospital. An important question asked was about health records. In the United States, we have electronic health records . An electronic health record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history and includes data such as immunization status, family history, medications, and information about past procedures performed. The biggest flaw about EHRs is the lack of interoperability between systems and software in different hospitals. Because of this, it is difficult for hospitals to retrieve and view the health records. Also, extensive research and surveying have shown that physicians are expressing that they are spending too much time on EHR rather than treating their patients. So, after explaining this to the doctor, I asked if there was an equivalent problem in Thailand. The doctor said that though they do not have EHRs, they do have problems with health records. They use physical records which often causes problems it requires patients to handle their own records if they have to transfer to a different clinic or hospital. In the event that the record is lost, then there is no information about the clinical history of the patient. This would result in the doctors having to guess the history and medication.