GE HealthCare's 30-year journey to transform Vietnam's healthcare sector

November 16, 2023 | 13:00
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During its 30 years of operation in Vietnam, GE HealthCare has played an active role in closing the care gaps, thereby contributing to the sector's sustainable future.

The 30-year journey of transformation

As a global medical technology company, General Electric's healthcare business (GE HealthCare) has been present in Vietnam for 30 years. In January, GE HealthCare was completely spun off from GE as an independent company. By striking out on its own, GE HealthCare cements its position as an agile, growth-minded company that is completely focused on delivering better solutions.

Over the past 30 years, GE HealthCare has leveraged its global expertise, local insights, and advanced technologies to address the challenges and opportunities in Vietnam.

GE HealthCare's 30-year journey to transform Vietnam's healthcare sector
Pham Hong Son, country manager of GE HealthCare Vietnam

Pham Hong Son, country manager of GE HealthCare Vietnam said, "Every year, GE HealthCare invests $1.2 billion in research and development to unveil new products and advanced technologies. In Vietnam, we have been working with public and private healthcare institutions to introduce these advanced applications and solutions, especially in oncology, cardiology, and neurology. The partnerships are crucial to resolving some of the challenges for the healthcare sector into the future."

One of the company’s most remarkable efforts is to accelerate the adoption of AI in Vietnam's healthcare system. As a global leader in medical technology, GE HealthCare is unleashing it to unlock, integrate, aggregate, and standardise patient data to derive population-scale insights that are transforming the industry.

Accordingly, GE HealthCare's MRI and CT scanners are integrated with AI to improve the scan time and ease the workflow for doctors and radiologists, thereby improving patient outcomes.

In addition, GE HealthCare also drives the Care Pathway approach to provide personalised care for each Vietnamese patient. Under the one-stop clinic concept, Care Pathway aims to reshape the industry around patients and strive to deliver a more personal, precise, and human approach to care from diagnosis through to treatment and recovery.

Just as its innovation-centred digital health framework is transforming healthcare delivery, it is also central to GE HealthCare’s growth strategy in an $84 billion industry. An emphasis on personalised care and digitalisation opens the door to precision care in Vietnam and other emerging markets.

After three decades, more than half of the clinics and hospitals in Vietnam have at least one piece of GE HealthCare technology or equipment. This achievement alone proves the company's vital role in the nation.

Even in times of crisis, the company provided critical-care equipment, training, and services to frontline healthcare workers and facilities across the country.

The company also supports the development of Vietnam’s healthcare infrastructure and human resources through partnerships with the Ministry of Health, local authorities, hospitals, universities, and non-governmental organisations. It strongly believes that the best healthcare outcomes do not rest on the best technology alone. Education, training, hospital design, and research are all factors that ensure patients receive quality care.

Every year, GE HealthCare in Vietnam provides dozens of training sessions and other educational activities to customers and partners to help them improve their knowledge and skills, hence elevating the competency of the nation's workforce.

Most recently, together with Vinmec and VinUniversity, GE HealthCare created the first ever Advanced Imaging Education Center (AIEC) in Southeast Asia, bringing world-class imaging training courses to medical experts and specialists.

GE HealthCare's 30-year journey to transform Vietnam's healthcare sector
The grand opening of the first international-standard Advanced Imaging Education Centre in Vietnam

Staying ahead in a rapidly changing world

According to Son, Vietnam's healthcare market has been going through a very challenging situation. A lot of pressure on the healthcare sector has been slowing it down and creating challenges for both doctors and patients. The country is still experiencing a shortage of equipment as it strives to meet patient needs.

With its strong commitment, GE HealthCare has taken action to help Vietnam overcome these obstacles. The company's short-term goal is to quickly provide more equipment over the next 12-18 months.

Son further noted that, "Vietnam's healthcare market has been transforming strongly over the past decades. Public hospitals are the main providers of healthcare services and account for 83 per cent of the total hospital population. However, private hospitals are expanding rapidly, especially in urban areas, and offer higher-quality and more specialised services. Therefore, our team has been transforming how both operate."

"We have also changed the way we bring solutions to the market, with a focus on the equipment and lifecycle value. We have convinced local healthcare providers to make both short-term and long-term investments. Besides meeting the basic needs, we also encourage them to adopt advanced technologies and applications to close the gaps in the healthcare sector" he added.

Moving forward, GE HealthCare will capitalise on the opportunities here. The nation requires huge investment to develop its healthcare sector, so there are many opportunities for suppliers and investors. Vietnamese citizens still spend a lot of money on overseas treatments, especially for oncology or cardiology.

According to a report by AmCham Vietnam, Vietnam’s per-person healthcare expenditure is expected to grow by 9.2 per cent on-year over the 2009-2025 period, reaching $262 by 2025 ($26 billion for the total market), equivalent to 5.8 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s medical device market is expected to reach $1.8 billion this year, making it the eighth-largest in the Asia-Pacific region. The market is dominated by imports, which account for over 90 per cent of the total supply.

"To tap into the opportunities, we will continue to work closely with customers and partners to meet market needs and maintain GE HealthCare’s position as the preferred partner for the healthcare transformation in Vietnam," Son said.

"GE HealthCare will continue to bring the latest and most advanced medical solutions to Vietnam's healthcare system, ranging from imaging to ultrasound, patient care solutions, and digital health," he concluded.

Priority will also be given to accelerating the adoption of digital health and AI, and the new independent company will strengthen its local presence and capabilities to lead the next big shift in healthcare.

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By Thanh Van

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