October, 16 2012 09:58:00

Electronic medical management not up to expectations

HA NOI (VNS)- There are still many drawbacks to electronic medical management across Viet Nam, according to medical experts at a conference held in Ha Noi yesterday.

Experts agreed that low financial resources, poor capacities of human resources and no access to internet at the grassroot level were major reasons.

Nguyen Cong Khan, director of the Ministry of Health's Department of Science and Training, said applying information technology in medical management could connect all hospitals nation-wide and would thus help manage patients and ease hospital overcrowding.

Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly Committee of Social Affairs Nguyen Van Tien pointed out consequences caused by the shortage of information technology in many provinces.

He said in the committee's business trip to the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai three months ago, the local authorities reported they had bought health insurance cards for the poor, ethnic minorities, invalids and children with the State budget.

However, the province did not have internet system to monitor the work, thus they found that 10,000 cards were superfluous, which meant that more than 10,000 people had two or three health insurance cards, he said.

Meanwhile, Chu Hong Thang, deputy director of the Thai Nguyen Department of Health, said Thai Nguyen was the first province in the country to apply information technology in medical managment, and the results were highly encouraging.

The province has used the internet in medical management since 2000. So far five out of eight provincial hospitals and eight out of nine district hospitals use the internet in managing.

In 2008-09, the Population Council and the provincial Department of Health implemented a pilot project using information technology in managing medical information.

The project applied the health management software HMIS in all of 181 commune medical clinics in the province.

However, the work met a lot of obstacles due to the lack of knowledge and skills on information technology among local commune officials.

"Many officials had got used to managing by records, books and documents, and they hesitated to study new technology," said Thang.

Moreover, some commune medical clinics had power cuts or particularly remote areas could not access the internet.

Thang said to make it work, the most important thing was that leaders of medical clinics must be enthusiastic in the work and have synchronous plans to train medical workers. — VNS

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