Vietnam’s well being sector has been steadily adopting digital transformation for various years, however the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a technological revolution in healthcare techniques throughout the nation that may in any other case have taken many years.
Preliminary progress in well being info system
Paper-based medical data are a mainstay in Vietnam’s well being sector, and solely 32 hospitals use digital well being data (EHRs).
Beneath a Authorities plan, 95 p.c of the inhabitants could have EHRs by 2025. The Ministry of Well being mentioned EHRs began connecting hospitals and well being amenities throughout the nation in July 2021. Due to this shared supply of knowledge, sufferers do not need to deliver printed data with them for follow-up examinations. The info can be supposed for medical doctors to trace sufferers’ progress, thus facilitating future medical care.
The Quang Ninh Obstetrics and Paediatrics Hospital within the northern province of Quang Ninh is an excellent instance, having already switched from paper data to EHRs. The transfer has made it simpler for each medical doctors and sufferers to entry their medical histories.
On the Hanoi Cardiology Hospital, EHRs are being utilized in COVID-19 therapy wards. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Sinh Hien, director of the hospital, mentioned it helped scale back the chance of COVID-19 spreading amongst each medical doctors and sufferers.
Moreover EHRs, the event of a variety of functions within the well being sector since COVID-19 broke out in Vietnam at the beginning of 2020 is a vivid illustration of the sector’s digitalisation progress.
Functions equivalent to Ncovi that helps day by day well being declarations, Bluzone that detects shut contact with COVID-19 sufferers, and VHD (Vietnam Well being Declaration) for individuals passing by way of airports and border gates, have develop into an integral a part of the nation’s COVID-19 prevention and management technique.
Via these functions, the Ministry of Well being has despatched 5 billion messages to customers to replace them on the pandemic, in addition to inform them in regards to the newest rules for pandemic prevention.
Having acquired such messages from the Ministry of Well being through the Zalo and SSKDT (e-health) apps, Do Thanh Mai, a resident of Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi, mentioned she felt safer receiving official details about the pandemic, moderately than phrase of mouth. The SSKDT app additionally helped Mai to entry distant medical session amidst the difficult developments of the pandemic.
Spurred on by fears of contagion in wards and ready rooms, well being practitioners are shifting from conventional face-to-face conferences to affected person consultations by phone or on-line video apps like SSKDT.
Due to this fast digital transformation, individuals can now e book appointments through cellphone or on-line at high hospitals such because the Viet Duc Friendship Hospital, Cho Ray Hospital, the Nationwide Hospital of Conventional Medication, and the Hanoi Cardiology Hospital with out having to queue up in crowded ready rooms.
A dose of telemedicine saves life
Practically a decade in the past, a venture to handle understaffing and overcrowding at central hospitals throughout the nation was accepted, highlighting the position of telehealth.
Telehealth was pioneered in Vietnam 15 years in the past on the Viet Duc Friendship Hospital below a venture to revolutionise the sector by migrating healthcare consultations from central hospitals to satellite tv for pc clinics by way of the usage of know-how, thus enhancing the capability of grassroots-level medical amenities and easing the burden on central hospitals. At the moment, six satellite tv for pc clinics within the north had been related with central hospitals with a view to fine-tuning native practitioners’ experience.
In keeping with Prof. Dr. Tran Binh Giang, director of the Viet Duc Friendship Hospital, lots of of conferences had been held every week on the hospital to supply consultations and switch know-how to 23 satellite tv for pc clinics between 2013-2020. After telco big Viettel’s telehealth platform was adopted, the variety of satellite tv for pc clinics elevated to greater than 100, with many district-level and personal hospitals registering to develop into satellite tv for pc clinics of the Viet Duc Friendship Hospital.
Statistics from the Ministry of Well being present the doctor-population ratio in Vietnam stands at round 8:10,000 towards the World Well being Organisation’s advisable 1:1,000. This implies individuals residing in distant and rural areas have worse entry when it comes to distance to healthcare providers. On this context, telehealth has develop into the important thing to fixing doctor shortages.
Giang mentioned telehealth has prolonged well being consultations from central hospitals to distant areas the place there are few high quality medical doctors, serving to sufferers entry correct medical care at native hospitals moderately than travelling to central hospitals.
“A person in Dien Bien province was in a crucial scenario with bleeding within the mind after struggling a traumatic head harm. Medical doctors in Dien Bien province efficiently carried out difficult cranial surgical procedure after receiving session from high surgeons at Viet Duc Friendship Hospital by way of the telehealth platform”.
The affected person wouldn’t have survived if he had been taken to Hanoi 600 kilometres away, whereas the distant medical session took solely half-hour to save lots of his life, Giang added.
“Telehealth is a revolution within the medical business”
Prof.Dr. Nguyen Sinh Hien, Director of the Hanoi Cardiology Hospital
On the Hanoi Cardiology Hospital, telehealth has additionally been deployed to supply coaching for medical doctors at district-level hospitals.
“Telehealth is a revolution within the medical business. Years in the past, it took me round 15 years to develop into the top surgeon. Nevertheless, due to this technical assist, the time has shortened to 2-3 years for a trainee physician,” Prof. Dr. Hien advised Vietnam Information Company.
A complete of forty coaching sections for grassroots-level medical doctors have been organised by the Hanoi Cardiology Hospital by way of the telehealth platform since April 2020, Hien mentioned, highlighting cardiothoracic surgical procedure consultations had been offered to deal with 12 sufferers with congenital coronary heart illness at Phu Tho Basic Hospital, and interventional cardiology session for 5 sufferers at Thai Binh Basic Hospital.
“The success of coronary heart surgical procedure is essentially determined by the medical doctors. On-line assist from main consultants helps medical doctors at grassroots ranges really feel extra assured of dealing with any issues throughout surgical procedure and could be the distinction between life and demise.”
Of be aware, in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has performed an necessary position in making certain the protection of medical doctors by limiting the variety of totally different clinics they’re required attend.
Telehealth has been used within the well being sector for years now, however when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, social distancing grew to become the brand new regular, and other people turned on-line for a lot of actions, together with medical consultations. Moreover the comfort, telehealth additionally reduces the chance of contracting COVID-19 for each physicians and sufferers by permitting individuals to seek the advice of medical doctors by way of sensible electronics gadgets from the consolation of their houses.
Distant healthcare providers began being offered through the Doctor4U platform for residents in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, Dong Nai and lots of different southern localities when the fourth wave of COVID-19 hit the nation in July 2021.
A consultant from Doctor4U mentioned every day it acquired lots of of calls and bookings for examinations and consultations from sufferers with non-communicable illnesses who wanted common medical check-ups.
In a bid to expedite therapy for sufferers in addition to ease congestion at central hospitals amidst the difficult growth of COVID-19, all district-level medical amenities throughout the nation had been related with central hospitals through the telehealth platform on August 8 final yr when the Delta variant was sweeping the nation.
Attending a ceremony to launch the telehealth platform and debut the Nationwide Expertise Centre for COVID-19 Prevention and Management, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh mentioned that the platform was an efficient resolution to offering well timed prognosis and therapy assist for the needy, whereas enhancing the effectiveness of the struggle towards the pandemic.
Due to the launch of the telehealth system, medical doctors from Cho Ray Hospital had been capable of advise medical doctors at Can Gio Hospital (Ho Chi Minh Metropolis), Hau Nghia Hospital (Lengthy An province) and Thuan An Hospital (Binh Duong province) on methods to deal with COVID-19 sufferers in crucial circumstances.
Nevertheless, a scarcity of authorized rules on telehealth posed an excellent problem for hospitals to proceed utilizing the platform in the long run, mentioned Prof. Dr. Nguyen Sinh Hien.
“There aren’t any reimbursement schemes from Vietnam Social Safety or transmission prices, amongst others, which has made many hospitals droop the deployment of telehealth to coach and advise grassroots degree medical doctors.”
Moreover, the problem additionally got here from grassroots degree hospitals the place medical and IT infrastructure shouldn’t be adequate to ship distant care from main practitioners, he added.
Higher well being is only a click on away
COVID-19 has certainly modified shopper behaviour. Individuals have develop into extra conscious of the comfort of telehealth applied sciences they’ll use to see their practitioners with out the chance of an infection.
With a easy mouse click on, Ngo Thu Huyen, a resident of Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, was capable of contact a health care provider for her youngster who was affected by a horrible cough on the Docosan platform, with out taking him to a hospital.
“Distant medical consultations with high medical doctors have been your best option throughout lockdown. Due to Docosan, I discovered the appropriate physician who gave my son the appropriate drugs. He recovered shortly,” Huyen mentioned.
Pandemic turns into sudden catalyst for healthtech startups
In keeping with Nguyen The Hien, advertising supervisor of Docosan, the variety of bookings for on-line medical consultations through the Docosan platform surged 500 p.c in the course of the pandemic.
Most of Docosan’s customers wanted entry to medical consultations and therapy for psychological, paediatric and reproductive well being, he added.
Within the context of the formidable challenges going through the healthcare sector, tech-enabled healthcare providers suppliers are enjoying an necessary position in growing the sector. In the meantime, Vietnam’s quickly growing older inhabitants is imposing a giant burden on the healthcare system, which has strived to modernise to satisfy public demand.
Healthtech startups have big potential to thrive within the Vietnamese market since high-quality healthcare providers have develop into a high precedence locally as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
Spending for healthcare is estimated to surge to 43 billion USD in 2028, a three-fold enhance in comparison with 2018.
Nevertheless, the variety of healthtech startups in Vietnam account for less than 2 p.c of the 4,000 healthtech startups in Asia. Whereas a robust influx of funding has been poured into overseas startups, it has solely trickled right down to Vietnamese healthtech corporations.
Singaporean-based Physician Anyplace, a startup that takes an omnichannel strategy to healthcare, just lately bagged 65.7 million USD in Collection C funding led by development fairness investor Asia Companions.
Now, Physician Anyplace data a mean 400 on-line medical consultations per day in Vietnam, doubling the quantity it reached when it was launched in Vietnam in mid-2019.
From the outset, Physician Anyplace joined fingers with main insurance coverage corporations like Bao Minh, Bao Viet and PTI to entry their clients, employees and family members.
Moreover, by teaming up with ViettelPay, Physician Anyplace permits particular person clients to pay through their e-wallets.
In the meantime, Japanese buying and selling home Sumitomo Corp. has introduced its plan to take a position tens of tens of millions of USD in Insmart, a Vietnam – Malaysia three way partnership which affords on-line prescriptions and referrals to healthcare suppliers, together with entry to medical data and drugs info through its software. Insmart holds a 60 p.c share of Vietnam’s managed-care market, with 1.5 million clients.
Within the meantime, healthcare reserving app Docosan is among the many only a few Vietnamese startups to supply clients a variety of healthcare providers, and was capable of elevate 1 million USD in seed funding from Taiwan’s AppWorks enterprise fund, which it claims is without doubt one of the largest seed rounds ever for a Vietnamese healthtech startup.
Based in 2020, Docosan permits sufferers to e book medical appointments on-line, chat with major care assistants, and obtain medical consultations from main practitioners, together with different providers.
Only some Vietnamese healthtech startups are capable of provide the array of providers Docosan supplies, whereas overseas startups like Physician Anyplace have established themselves firmly within the Vietnamese market.
If Vietnamese gamers don’t reset to supply enticing providers, they’ll undoubtedly lose out on their slice of the pie to overseas rivals within the home market./.