The development of information and communication technology has had a dramatic impact on people's lives, including medical matters. The Internet has made it possible for telemedicine to be implemented with excellent image quality at low cost; such telemedicine was first applied between Japan and South Korea in 2002. The technology is not restricted to advanced countries: it can also be applied in developing nations, and it has expanded rapidly to other parts of Asia and beyond. In 2005 Thailand became the seventh country to be associated with the Telemedicine Development Center of Asia (TEMDEC). As of 2017, TEMDEC operates 144 programs in Thailand, mainly in endoscopy (55, 38%) and surgery (40, 28%): 17 hospitals or medical institutions are active members, and there are 165 telemedicine connections. Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University was the first participant; it has 71 telemedicine connections; King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital became the second participant; it has 52 such connections. These two hospitals account for 74.5% (123/165) of all telemedicine activities in Thailand. Compared with outside Bangkok, the number of telemedicine connections is 14 times (154/11) greater and the number of such connections per hospital is 10 times (15.4/1.6) greater in the capital-even though the number of hospitals is only 1.4 times (10/7) greater in Bangkok. To efficiently meet local needs, we strongly hope that telemedicine will expand into rural parts of Thailand and into more medical specialties through ongoing technological development.
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