Hospitals and medtech businesses are expected to benefit more as the legal framework on telehealth is being completed, pinning high hopes to increase access to high-quality healthcare for citizens and adding to the overall value of the sector.
Nguyen Truong Son, Deputy Minister of Health, said that the completion of the legal framework plays a very important role in ensuring the sustainable and efficient development of telehealth.
|Nguyen Truong Son, Deputy Minister of Health |
“The regulations on telehealth will be included in the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment. Initially, there will be a regulation that when patients are transferred from a provincial hospital to a central one, there should be remote consultation between the two hospitals. The ministry (MoH) has regulated the maximum amount of human resources in remote consultations to facilitate such activities,” Son told VIR.
In addition, related departments of the MoH are working on financial mechanisms for telehealth activities, including technical and economic norms for remote medical examinations and treatments, as well as IT norms, enabling healthcare providers to link with insurance companies.
Also important is the technical catalog, and the professional guidance on remote medical examination and treatment. The MoH has issued this catalog of technical expertise which is temporarily applicable for telehealth activities before issuing an official catalog.
The completed legal framework is expected to encourage more hospitals, tech firms, and integrated healthcare solutions providers to join the playground.
Dao Xuan Thanh, deputy director of Hanoi Medical University Hospital said, “We need the ministry’s directions on the financial mechanism, including payments for doctors who take part in remote consultations to facilitate future activities.”
Medtech firms are also facing some challenges. Ngo Thanh Son, deputy general director of VMED Group, admitted that education and healthcare are the sectors that have attracted growing interest among domestic and international businesses and investors. However, some problems are still in their paths, including a lack of existing policies on IT investment in the sector.
Currently in the IT market, Viettel Solutions and VMED are the key players while others include FPT Healthcare and Isofth. Meanwhile, the segment of medical device distribution attracts both Vietnamese and international companies. Recognising the potential, these companies are making new plans to gain more advantages in the lucrative market.
The MoH approved the telehealth development scheme for 2020-2025 in June last year with the two basic goals of increasing the constant support of professional knowledge for all health facilities, especially those in districts, and healthcare access for locals. And an important milestone in the sector’s digital transformation path was marked last September when 1,000 healthcare facilities were announced to have been equipped with telehealth centres, with the number set to increase further.
Initial achievements have proven how important telehealth is to achieve the sector’s targets of easing overloads at central hospitals and increase the quality of services at district-level health facilities, thus increasing the quality of health access to locals, especially in the complicated development of the ongoing pandemic.