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Telehealth in Vietnam connects over 1,000 health centers
Anh Kiet 14:41, 2020/09/26
The telehealth project would contribute to the success of the national digital transformation program under the direction of the Vietnamese government.

After more than two months of piloting, the project connecting more than 1,000 health centers to provide remote consultation and treatment (telehealth) in Vietnam was inaugurated on September 25, the Government Portal reported.

The inauguration saw the attendance of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, leaders of ministries and international organizations.

 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attends the inauguration. Photo: Quang Hieu

Addressing the inauguration, Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that telehealth project would contribute to the success of the national digital transformation program under the direction of the Vietnamese government.

Thanks to the telemedicine platform, a large number of consultations on patients with complicated illnesses have been conducted promptly, leading to successful treatment without having to transfer them to higher-level establishments. Some health centers located in remote areas have been connected, including those in the islands of Truong Sa (Spratly), Co To, or the mountainous district of Muong Nhe (Lai Chau province), among others.

In the time ahead, the health ministry will continue to widen the Vietnam medical network to involve all doctors nationwide with a view to further improving doctors' skills and the medical system’s capacity in dealing with different diseases, Mr. Long stressed.

At a press conference before the inauguration, Dr. Nguyen Lan Hieu, director of Hanoi Medical University Hospital who has been assigned by the Ministry of Health to pilot the telemedicine platform in the period of 2020-2025, said that to implement the project in an effective and sustainable way, central and local hospitals must be determined and must consider each other partners to carry out professional undertakings.

 Patients are given long-distance medical examination and treatment with leading experts in geriatrics and cardiology of Hanoi Medical University Hospital. Photo: Nguyen Nhuan

“Good coordination among health centers at different levels is conducive to a much more confident medical staff in far-flung areas. Patients with severe complications can be cured locally, instead being referred to far away hospital and exposed to many risks on the way," Dr. Hieu said.

He also suggested that state agencies should soon issue guidance on how health insurance and private health insurance would cover remote medical examination and treatment.

Earlier, in May 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health piloted a telemedicine platform to minimize infection in the context that the Covid-19 pandemic was ravaging the world.

Health experts agreed that the telemedicine can take full advantage of digital healthcare solutions in repelling the pandemic nationwide as it helps reduce direct contact with patients, thus decreasing the risk of infection for health workers.

It also aims to provide professional support for provincial and district hospitals and health clinics, especially in far-flung areas.

Using the telemedicine platform, patients and clinicians can contact and consult via phone calls, text messages, so that they can avoid infection but still ensure medical care.

Through the support of information technology, experts and doctors can see patients and medical parameters and conditions of patients from respiration to electrocardiogram so that they can make recommendations for colleagues of lower-level hospitals.

The Ministry of Health has selected Hanoi Medical University Hospital to pilot telemedicine together with a number of satellite hospitals, including Muong Khuong General Hospital (Lao Cai province), Ha Tinh City General Hospital (Ha Tinh province), commune health stations and patient homes.

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