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Vietnam takes steps toward digitalising its health sector

Image credit: Nhan Dan

Digital transformation in the health sector will better serve the people by increasing quality and convenience in medical services, the Minister of Health, Nguyen Thanh Long, recently said at the plenary session of the Vietnam Health Sector’s Digital Conversion Conference.

Despite having to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, the health sector has made solid efforts in digital transformation, initially recording encouraging results. Specifically, in the administrative field, 100% of administrative procedures in the sector are online at level 4, the highest of Vietnam’s online public service system. Further, all documents at the Ministry of Health are electronically processed and use digital signatures.

According to a news report, regarding the prevention of COVID-19, the Minister noted that there are many lessons for successful epidemic prevention, one of which is to focus on promoting the application of IT. Several software applications have been created to fight the virus. Vietnam was the first country in the world to apply electronic medical declarations to facilitate tracing and zoning work.

One of the most impressive initiatives was the deployment of a remote examination and treatment system, which helped people in different regions access high-quality medical services. Within 45 days, the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with other related units, opened 1,000 remote medical service venues. By the end of this year, there were 1,500.

Long added that the system will connect all medical facilities across the country. By 2025, the Ministry expects that 100% of health facilities will participate in the remote medical examination and treatment system, including the private health providers.

At the conference, the Vietnam Medical Network, the V20 Grassroots Medical Platform, and the Electronic Health Record Platform were officially launched. The first platform is an internal social network made by Vietnamese experts to help connect health workers across the nation to share their expertise.

V20 is software for grassroots medical management that will come into use this month, applied to nearly 12,000 clinics across the country to eliminate paperwork. With this software, departments of health can survey all the data of commune health stations in their localities, while the Ministry of Health can also refer to the data.

The e-health record platform will help better manage the health records of patients nationwide with nearly 98 million records being updated regularly by health authorities. According to the Minister, from July 2021, all outpatients will have to have electronic personal health records, and paper copies will be completely removed.

In November 2020, the Ministry of Health officially launched the Vietnam Public Health Portal to publicise medical information towards an open, transparent health sector as well as providing the best health care for the people. The portal provides information across five public areas, including pharmacy and cosmetics, medical equipment, food safety, examination and treatment, and public administration.

As OpenGov Asia reported, through the Public Health Portal, people can exercise their right to inform themselves and monitor services provided by the health sector, certain aspects are revolutionary in the medical sector, such as the portal, which will make a huge amount of information, including medical service fees open to the public.

Currently, 1,490 medical facilities and hospitals nationwide have publicly announced their service prices. Shortly, the Ministry will require all clinics to publicise their medical service fees and their quality levels, as well as patients’ satisfaction assessments

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