Phạm Lương Sơn, deputy director general of the Việt Nam Social Insurance Agency speaks to Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) newspaper about his agency’s plans to have a health dossier for all Vietnamese citizens
Why does your agency want to create a health dossier for all Vietnamese citizens?
Việt Nam has a very good grass roots health system nationwide. This system has been highly acclaimed by the World Health Organisation.
Before our economy became a market economy, we already had a good system of primary health care nationwide. Now, in a market economy, the primary health care system has faced many challenges, particularly financing.
In our country, spending on grass roots healthcare is low compared to many other countries and many people don’t see the advantages of having health insurance. Meanwhile, human resources at grass roots levels are weak and in great shortage. This is one of the reasons why hospitals and health clinics at central levels are overcrowded.
In 2016, the Government assigned the Ministry of Health and the Việt Nam Social Insurance Agency to launch a pilot project in Phú Thọ and Bắc Ninh provinces to develop a dossier for each citizen. With that dossier, the health sector and the insurance agency can monitor the health of each book holder throughout their life. The dossier would have all personal information about the book holder, including their health status – their weight, height, sex, blood group and more.
For the first year (2017), the cost for compiling dossiers will be covered by the Social Insurance Agency. At present, about 18 per cent of Vietnamese citizens have not yet joined the social insurance scheme. Funding will come from local budgets or sponsor agencies.
What are the advantages that people, the health sector and social insurance agencies will enjoy?
The health dossier can be used nationwide. This helps health workers to know what health problems his/her patient is having. In addition, it will offer good treatment for the patient while cutting costs for the health insurance budget on health checks and treatment. It will also reduce the number of patients coming from grass roots levels to central hospitals or clinics.
By reading the health book of their patients, the doctor will know the health status of their patients and can use the information for their diagnoses and treatment. Further, it will help the Ministry of Health come up with better national health policies.
For the Health Insurance Fund, the health book will help doctors avoid the use of hi-tech in many cases. As a result, it will ease budget burdens on the health insurance fund, reduce health management costs and tackle fraud cases.
Will the Electronic Social Security Card replace the health insurance card in the future?
Government Resolution 19.2017 has asked the Việt Nam Social Insurance Agency to use IT to connect all the social insurance departments from 63 provinces and cities nationwide, including cities affiliated to the Central Government. Such a connection will help transactions between the social health insurance fund and health insurance to operate quicker and more reliably.
In the long run, all personal information of a Vietnamese citizen will converge into an electronic card. Each citizen will have a personal code. The code will be the only pass that each citizen should need their whole life whenever they have to do something with the social security fund, health insurance, unemployment fund and so on. — VNS