Public Health monitoring and communicating through FDA Smart App
Thai Food and Drug Administration

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
In 2012, a number of the internet users were 25 million people. There were 2.5 million people’s online shopping whereas there were less than five hundred thousand of online shopping vendors. It was indicated that only one vendor influenced to five consumers that was five times. The consumer behaviors have changed all the time. Nowadays, the digital and information technology are the key factors which strongly affect the perception, attitude, decision, and consumer behaviors. Therefore, the health product entrepreneurs including retails and wholesales mainly focus on the online marketing. The entrepreneurs usually exaggerate claiming on their products, selling illegal products, furtively add the hazardous substances into the health products or using faked registration number as shown in the health product complaint statistics. In the fiscal year 2012, there were 1,293 complaints. In average, the complaint was one to 386 online shopping vendors. The tendency of complaints was increasing whereas the complaint receiver was limited and inconvenient. Complaining by phone was the only way to make a complaint which wasn’t on duty after working hour. The most complaints were selling expired drugs, selling polypharmacy, selling drug via website, exaggerated claiming on food, labelling without the registration number on food and cosmetic products, using faked registration number on cosmetic products, exaggerated claimingon cosmetic products. According to these problems and situation as above, there are many causes including unethical entrepreneurship and the convenience of establishing in online shopping because the cost is low whereas it is difficult in inspection and monitoring. Moreover, the consumers have inadequate knowledge about health product consumption. In addition, the Thai FDA could not thoroughly control and monitor on illegal health products. Therefore, the illegal health products are still on the market. When the consumers use those products it could be harmful and cause of death.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Enhancing the consumer awareness in health product consumption. Revolutionizing the control and monitoring system on selling health products to approach strategies. Improving sustainable quality of life by using the information technology application.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
In accordance with the strategic plan of the Ministry of Public Health that has supported creating the information technology innovation assisting the public health system.The Public and Consumer Affairs Division purposed the project to solve the problems which was the ORYOR Smart Application. The project was started in 2013 and then it has developed to the third version at present. It is a knowledge management between bureaus and divisions using the information technology to enhance the efficiency, to increase in the convenience in communication, gathering consumer services from many parts of Thai FDA into one application. The collaboration from each bureau of Thai FDA provides the essential database to verify the registration number of each product, searching for qualify drugstore, and contacting with the Complaint and Enforcement Management Center. After brain storming which led to the conclusion that the traditional inspection and monitoring system was changed to the approach strategy in order to enhance consumer awareness by providing health product information for self-protection from exaggerated claiming on health product or illegal online selling. The approach strategy is to collaborate with consumers via ORYOR Smart Application which is the channel for verifying health product registration number before buying and also the consumer could complain about illegal health products via ORYOR Smart Application directly. The information resource is very important and it should be convenient, ease of access at anywhere anytime and self-learning which performed in the interesting and modern medias. Moreover, the initial health examination such as the calculation of Body Mass Index which is a useful tool to estimate a healthy body weight based on your height, and the daily dietary calculation would help consumers for proper consumption.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
ORYOR Smart Application was designed to support the information providing service which is convenient and accessible for consumers. The application would promote the appropriate health product consumer behaviors by setting the consumer as a self-changer who uses the online information technology which connected with the information from variety of departments into one application. The consumer could access the information from smartphone or tablet anywhere anytime. Another common problem is the searching for a drugstore while traveling in unfamiliar places or distant areas when you get sick or forget your regular medicine. It is difficult to find the hospital or drugstore nearby because you are not familiar with the area so your medical problems might get worse. Therefore, the Thai Food and Drug Administration has implemented the drugstore searching menu in ORYOR Smart Application to navigate the location of qualify drugstores nearby and other areas all over Thailand via GPS. Now, there are more than 15,000 drugstores, so it is the menu which response to the consumer demand and utility directly.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The main mission of the Public and Consumer Affairs Division under the Thai Food and Drug Administration is to change consumer behavior and enhance the consumer awareness to select health product efficiently, correctly, and safely. The ORYOR Smart Application is the tool helping for making a decision before buying health products in daily life. Moreover, the statistic of 62.6 million Thailand population with age over 6 years from National Statistical Office in 2015 reported that the number of computer user were 21.8 million people, (34.9 %), the number of internet user were 24.6 million people, (39.3 %), and the number of smartphone user were 49.6 million people , (79.3 %). The tendency of computer, internet, and smartphone users in 5 years from 2011 to 2015 indicated that the number of computer users increased from 19.9 million people (32.0%) to 21.8 million people (34.9%). The number of internet users increased from 14.8 million people(23.7 %) to 24.6 million people (39.3 %). The number of smartphone users increased from 41.4 million people (66.4%) to 49.6 million people (79.3%).
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
According that the customer behaviors have changed to social network, people regularly communicate via social media in daily life. The social media have become the core influence in our life so the approach strategy should be correlated with customer behaviors and expectation in order to promote the consumer awareness on buying health products. The approach strategy consists of 1.To create a tool for consumers which is ease of use with low cost and be benefit for various target groups. The application is the chosen one because it runs on the mobile device which the consumers already use it in daily life. Moreover, the selling prices of mobile phone are continually decreasing. It is a user-friendly application with helpful services. 2.To create the database of health product information which is various, ease of understanding , modern, interesting, accessible at anywhere anytime via application such as infographic, cartoon animation, and VDO. 3.To create the Edutainment which the content designed both to educate and to entertain for example the game including the knowledge information which is fun and advantageous. 4.To collaborate with social media influencers who involve with health or beauty products by publicizing the information in order to make consumer awareness on the disadvantage of using illegal health products or exaggerated claiming and consumer right protection. 5.To establish health community via social media in order to promote efficiently public concerns by cooperating with networks from government or private unit for seeding the information in the same time, to inform the health product selection method such as verify the registration number via ORYOR Smart Application prior to buying online cosmetics.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
According to the ORYOR Smart Application project, the Food and Drug Administration collaborated with all bureaus in Thai FDA for providing a reporting mechanism to submit information to the Food and Drug Administration concerning suspected health product complaints via ORYOR Smart Application with law enforcement. There were 4 stakeholder groups as follows: 1.The database of health product information for verifying the registration number of each health product involved with 3 bureaus and 1 division ;Bureau of Drug, Bureau of Food, Bureau of Cosmetics and Hazardous Substances, and Medical Devices Control Division. 2.The navigation system of drugstore which navigating the drugstore location all over Thailand involved with Bureau of Drug. 3.The network and database system for collecting and searching all kind of database involved with the Information Technology Center. 4.The complaint management for receiving complaints via ORYOR Smart Application and proceeding with law enforcement involved with the Complaint and Enforcement Management Center.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
ORYOR Smart Application was designed under Consumer Empowerment concept to serve the information services for promoting the appropriate health product consumer behaviors. Those are focused on self-changing consumers by using the online information technology which is one channel for all information from involved bureaus. The application is accessible by smartphones and tablets as anywhere anytime service. The application reduces the steps on verifying registration number and health product complaint processes. The project was started in the fiscal year 2013, the second version was developed in the fiscal year 2015 and continually developed to the third version in the fiscal year 2016. The ORYOR Smart Application has been downloaded more than 300,000 times until now. The key success factors are : 1.The continuous learning was implemented from personnel to organization level which starting with small issue then expands to the whole systems. Therefore, the continuous learning is one of the key successes for every organization to reach the target. 2.The participations from involved units including the thinking and practicing aspects make a good atmosphere that the health workforces are more helpful, not competitive. It is shown that the health workforces are collaborative, value, and the acceptance to the organization. 3.The organization is focused on the goal achievement to keep the works flow in the explicit direction and indicates “what should be developed? or what should be done to reach the target?” for example : using tools for planning and developing through the approach strategy in order to identify the framework and to integrate the collaboration through the approach strategy as well. The key elements of success are 1.The Chief Executive Officers which prioritize and make the decision about the project that drive project to success and be benefits on society. It clarifies the outstanding role of the CEO in change management in globalization. 2.The research of the innovation technology on the advantage, disadvantage, and limitation in considering for the appropriate application with most benefit.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
1. To solve the shortage of health workforce problem by recruitment the system administrator and cooperated with all involved unit at the beginning of the project, moreover, replace the health workforce with technology which could work harder with more precision. 2. Lacking knowledge and capability of system administrator can be improved by created the Knowledge Management for sharing, and managing the knowledge and information ,also employ the outsource professional to monitor the system for the part that could not handle by the internal health workforce. Invited the lecturer for sharing the technical knowledge to standardize the workers 3. Limitation of budgeting is also one of the main obstacles, therefore, the solution was to divide the working processes in this project into phases following the Thai FDA’s payment and delivery rules. 4. Informed the consumer about the problems and demonstrated how to use the ORYOR Smart Application as a tool in order to solve the problems and to make a better decision prior to buying or using health products. This makes the consumer more interest in the application.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
At present time, more than 83 million internet subscribers in Thailand realize the importance of searching and inspecting health products prior to buying by verifying the registration number, checking the expired date, nutrition and dietary information. To promote the healthy lifestyle consumer who read the label before buying health products. To promote smart consumers in Thailand. Moreover, the project initiates the learning society by creating proactive consumers to collaborate with the Thai FDA in order to inspect on health product in the market. The people are aware of illegal health products or exaggerated claimed advertisements. The project not only promotes the consumer behavior in searching for product information to enhance the consumer’s potential continuously including their families and communities but also creates the active influencers who influence the community in awareness of searching information prior buying health products. From the past 10 years, the sugar consumption has increased continuously; the average intake was 34 kilograms per year. The consumption of sugar contributes to the death by the Non-communicable Disease (NCDs). The survey indicated that more than 30 percent of Thai male and more than 40 percent of Thai female are overweight which conduce to the increasing risk of diabetes at least 6.8 percent whereas the obesity have 14.3 percent risk. In Thailand, 6.9 percentages of Thai people who older than 15 years old are diabetics. Those are 10.1 percentages of workers in the age of 45-59 years old and 3.4 percentage of people who are 30-44 years old. A number of diabetes are increasing dramatically, a half of them do not know themselves are diabetics. In addition, there are 10 percentages of people who have a high blood sugar levels that will risk being diabetics in the future. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration has designed the menu: Health Service Center in order to help people in calculating the Body Mass Index (BMI) and recording the daily consumption. The application not only calculates the calorie but also analyzes the recommended daily calorie in take for providing health care benefits and promoting consumption based planning. Another problem in Thailand at present is the shortage of pharmacist in the drugstores the result of this problem is medicines were prescribed by unknowledgeable and no licensed person. These may lead to the incorrect diagnosis, in appropriated drug dispensing, loss of chance in the appropriated medical treatment, waste money on unnecessary things, harmful to consumer’s health. In 2013, the ratio of pharmacist to population in Thailand was 1.3 : 10,000 which is lower than other countries such as Japan, Singapore, Malaysia (The ratio was 21.5, 4.1, and 4.3 respectively). Thai FDA manipulates the drugstore menu in the ORYOR Smart Application as a tool for two benefits, the first one is for searching drugstore nearby in case that people get sick in unfamiliar places and the second one is for complaining in the case of drugstore without pharmacist, therefore Thai FDA could inspect and proceed in the legal process at once.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
According to the higher competition in the markets of food, cosmetics, medical devices, hazardous substances, some vendors use the exaggerated claimed advertisements on the products via multimedia such as television, radio, printing media, website, and other social media. The consumers who consume those products might be harmful. Therefore, The Thai Food and Drug Administration had created the ORYOR Smart Application to improve integrity and accountability in public service which including 1. To integrate the database from all bureaus such as the drugstore information, the registration number of health product into one application to improve consumer convenience. 2. To integrate work by collaboration with the Complaint and Enforcement Management Center in order for inspecting and monitoring health product with efficiency, faster and enhancing the quality of consumer service. 3. To integrate the health service by using the useful application such as Body Mass Index calculation, the recording of daily calorie intake, and the health product information services from all involved unit in Thai FDA, etc.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The most interesting thing for woman is beauty; therefore the cosmetic market becomes the fast growing market with high competition. The cosmetic products including skincare are in variety, some vendors secretly added the forbidden substances in order to response the consumer demand on effective whitening whereas those substances are illegal and forbidden by the Thai FDA. Some vendors sell the cosmetics with no registration number; advertise with exaggerated claim on cosmetic that could whiten in the DNA level. The consumer who lack of knowledge and information might be harmful by using those illegal and hazardous products. The ORYOR Smart Application could help verifying the registration number of cosmetic prior to buying product. It could reduce the disadvantage from using those products, protect the consumer right from the exaggerated claimed on advertisement. The application also provide the essential information for female such as how to take the contraceptive pills, how to select cosmetics safely, how to test the allergy prior to using cosmetics, etc.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Thai Food and Drug Administration
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Nattharat Sahawathcharin
Title:   Pharmacist,Practitioner Level  
Telephone/ Fax:   +(66)25907120/+(66)25918472
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   88/24
Postal Code:   11000
City:   Meuang
State/Province:   Nonthaburi

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