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Vietnam Aims for Modernised Healthcare System

The Ministry of Health has implemented a project on remote medical examination and treatment, which aims to strengthen the professional capacity of grassroots-level healthcare establishments. It will also spread expertise and medical knowledge from central-level hospitals to people and health workers across the country.

The expansion of remote medical procedures has helped both patients and healthcare workers, especially in remote areas, access advanced techniques. An official from the Medical Examination and Treatment Department noted that technology for examination and treatment through the telemedicine programme is a significant shift. The goal is to modernise the country’s healthcare sector in line with international standards.

Technology makes communication easier between medical facilities across the country with a huge amount of information exchanged directly at any time. For example, echocardiography is a difficult technique in medicine. Thanks to the technology and telemedicine programme, doctors in Hanoi can monitor the echocardiography for patients in mountainous and remote areas, the official explained.

Doctors at central-level hospitals can coordinate with doctors in other provinces and cities to consult and treat severe cases. Patients at smaller healthcare facilities will not need to be transferred to other hospitals. Currently, people can book medical examinations and treatment appointments in many hospitals by phone, or through Internet applications without having to queue and register.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical system greatly increased the application of information technology solutions, contributing to improving the quality of medical aid. There have been over 3,000 remote medical consultation cases. More than 1,100 sessions were conducted with 32,000 online locations and 155 patients in critical conditions were saved, the official claimed. However, nearly 38% of healthcare establishments have not yet implemented automatic queuing to ensure fairness for patients. And cash payment for hospital fees still accounts for nearly 30%.

The Ministry of Health will continue to review and complete policies on information technology and digital transformation in medical processes and issue a circular on e-prescribing, telemedicine, and digital payment methods for consultation. The government wants hospitals to improve the capability of informatics staff.

Healthcare is one of the eight priorities of national digital transformation according to a government decree, under which, all public healthcare facilities must establish telemedicine sections, build, and gradually form a healthcare and disease prevention system based on digital technologies. They must also apply digital technology in medical facilities, contributing to administrative reform, reducing overloading in hospitals, and improving the quality of medical examination and treatment.

Public hospitals have been directed to use electronic medical records and hospital fee payments. And to form smart hospitals and smart health management platforms based on digital technology, integrating information and data, and forming a national database on health.

Medical facilities will deploy the “Each Citizen Has a Personal Doctor” initiative, which aims to provide every citizen with a digital record of personal, enabling the formation of a complete digital healthcare system. A legal corridor will also be set up to facilitate remote medical examination and treatment and e-prescriptions for patients to ensure that people can contact doctors quickly and have reduced examination, treatment, and patient transfer costs.

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