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IT boosting hospital treatment

Update: November, 25/2015 - 08:29
IT application is used in patient management at the Hue Psychiatric Hospital. The Ministry of Health has urged all hospitals to boost their application of information technology to improve medical examinations, treatment and management. — Photo bvtthan.thuathienhue.gov.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Health has urged all hospitals to boost their application of information technology to improve medical examinations, treatment and management, ministry officials said.

MoH Information Technology Department Deputy Director Pham Xuan Viet said this week that information technology had become one of the standards to evaluate hospitals. MoH called on all of them to focus on expanding the use of IT in their operations.

Viet said to Tien Phong (Vanguard) that the appeal was issued after a survey conducted by the MoH earlier this month revealed that care had become more convenient, due to the application of IT in many hospitals.

The survey said the new convenience included shortening patients' wait time by 40 minutes.

It said time for a patient to get through clinical examinations, including all kinds of tests and image diagnoses, had also been cut by about 80 minutes.

Deputy Minister of Health Le Quang Cuong said that once it recognised the benefit of IT in health care activities, MoH decided to undertake it as an essential target to improve the effectiveness of hospitals' operation.

Cuong said the ministry encouraged IT companies to market their products to hospitals so that each hospital could find suitable IT measures for operations.

Health care authorities hailed the new convenience due to the use of IT in hospitals. Health care workers and patients also expressed their desire to benefit from the hospital IT system.

Nguyen Thu Lan, a patient from Cai Be District, southern Tien Giang Province who frequently came to Cai Be Hospital to have stomache aches treated, said that she was excited about the new models of examination and treatment at the hospital since it installed an IT system.

Lan said it was a miracle how little she had to wait to be examined and get her prescription.

"It was a lot more convenient, compared with previous visits," Lan said. "I was told that all of my health records had been saved on the computers so I do not have to report my previous health conditions again and again to the doctors. Now, I just have to inform them of my current issues and get the prescription."

Cai Be General Hospital was one of the first hospitals to benefit from an IT system for examinations, treatments and management in Tien Giang Province.

The system was created by a group of four IT experts from the province's IT centre. It was first developed in 2012 to assist with the province's health care activities. Many have called it successful, and it is set to expand to more provinces in the south and further across the country.

The system received this year's Vietnamese Talented Award for its outstanding success in supporting the country's health care activities.

Cai Be General Hospital Director Bui Van Nghieu said the hospital received an average of 600-800 patients daily, so the IT system was indispensable to its operations.

IT had helped reduce the health workers' working hours all throughout the process, from check-in to check-out and insurance payments, Nghieu said.

Moreover, the doctor said, the system helped connect all the province's hospitals. Doctors could more quickly access their patients' health records, as well.

"This has particularly helped doctors give more accurate prescriptions more quickly," said Nghieu.

Dr. Le Hong Ha from the Viet Nam IT Association revealed the IT system didn't cost much, meaning it could boost the expansion of IT across the country. Even local health care clinics could afford it.

Experts estimated each system cost about VND10 million (US$450).

According to statistics from the MoH, last year alone, all central hospitals, 68 per cent of provincial hospitals and 61 per cent of district-level hospitals implemented software to manage examinations and treatments, 95 per cent of special-level hospitals formed IT divisions and the majority of provincial hospitals have IT employees.

Deputy Head of the Department of Health Insurance Dang Hong Nam said at an online meeting early this month that IT was being used at health facilities in Viet Nam, but it lacked connectivity and a shared database.

According to Nam, since April this year, the health sector had started connecting health insurance data at four levels in six provinces – Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Hai Phong, Tien Giang, Ninh Binh and Nghe An. — VNS

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