Accelerating the vital digital transformation of hospitals

March 03, 2022 | 16:09
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In recent years the healthcare sector has made breakthroughs in IT application, and approaching digital technologies like the Internet of Things, AI, VR, cloud computing, big data, and more. All hospitals nationwide deploy hospital management information systems, while interconnectivity with the healthcare insurance payment verification system has reached 99.5 per cent. Around 20 health facilities deploy electronic medical records in substitution for paper ones, and 23 hospitals deploy picture archiving and communication systems.
Accelerating the vital digital transformation of hospitals
Tran Quy Tuong - Director general Agency of Information Technology Ministry of Health

In 2019 the Ministry of Health (MoH) approved an electronic medical record deployment plan. As a result, many localities have initially deployed electronic medical records. During the prevention and control of the ongoing pandemic, IT application has also been widely accelerated and brought about fruitful results.

There is no doubt that the application of digital technologies in pandemic prevention and control will become more efficient over time. However, there are still issues that need to be solved soon. They include an incomplete financial mechanism for IT application in the healthcare sector; a lack of economic and technical norms and IT cost structure included in the cost of medical services; incomplete regulations on IT in the sector; a lack of qualified human resources for medical IT application; and difficulties in changing mindsets among healthcare staff.

The key now for the sector is digital transformation in healthcare and preventive health, contributing to successfully implementing Vietnam’s healthcare goals. An initiative for each resident to have his or her own doctor is being crafted in a move to ensure each citizen has a personal electronic health record.

A people’s health portal will be established, allowing people to manage and look up information about their health, and message apps will notify health information to people on the e-record system.

Systems for vaccination, infectious diseases, and non-communicable diseases will be made. Disease-monitoring applications will be developed by collecting data from people, businesses, health facilities, social networks, investigation programmes, and more.

Producing smart apps will provide services related to monitoring, supporting, and taking care of people’s health from afar through online connections between patients, health monitoring devices, and health staff. Building and deploying management software for grassroots health facilities can also help them meet all the professional requirements, collecting information about the environment via sensing devices.

Moreover, Vietnam plans to further develop smart hospitals and deploy electronic medical records at all health facilities in line with the current roadmap which regulates the deployment of e-medical records and e-payments for hospital fees.

The MoH is taking a number of solutions and measures on this journey. The first is to introduce platforms for digital transformation. It focuses on changing mindsets and increasing awareness among managers, health facilities, businesses, and the community about the role and benefits of such a transformation for the sector.

The ministry will continue to complete legal documents, standards, norms, and the payment rate in medical IT while developing digital infrastructure for the sector by applying advanced tech and upgrading technical infrastructure on the cloud computing platform, wire network technology, and others.

Moreover, the sector will develop technical systems to ensure information security to serve the ministry’s e-government in line with regulations. It will enhance international cooperation, research and development, and innovation in the digital environment while aiding human resources.

Another move is to develop e-government in the healthcare sector. The ministry will implement and complete IT applications in e-management, thus limiting the use of paper documents, e-transactions, and e-office at the MoH, provincial departments of health, and units in the sector.

A digital economy is on the way, with focus on acceleration of digital transformation in their management, administration, and services among businesses in the sector as well as the health facilities themselves.

By Tran Quy Tuong

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