This profile was prepared when Kongkiat Kespetchara was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Kongkiat is using information technology to enable small rural hospitals to provide improved health care services and make more effective use of the severely limited financial and human resources at their disposal. He has developed an information management system tailored to the special needs of such hospitals, and by training hospital staff to be owners of that technology, he is enabling local adaptations of the system that are responsive to the special needs of a particular institution and help assure the continued growth and vitality of the system. Unlike most medical software, Kongkiat s Hospital OS collects both clinical and financial data. The database that it provides enables rural hospitals to analyze the cost-effectiveness of their services, optimize their generally meager budgets, and design improved ways of delivering health care services. It has also resulted in many local initiatives, including a new approach for attending the needs of patients with chronic diseases and improved disease surveillance systems in remote rural areas.Over the past seven years, Kongkiats software has been adopted by almost 100 rural (and, in a few instances, urban) health care facilities across Thailand. He and his Hospital OS team have trained both medical and non-medical staff in those institutions to use the software for a broadening array of purposes, while continuing to develop the software itself. By maintaining Hospital OS as a free and open source technology, Kongkiat has assured the availability of this information system in inadequately funded institutions, and he is also facilitating the development of an important database of public health information for various uses in preventive medicine.