Mutual recognition of test results of little benefit

Update: August, 23/2017 - 09:00
Doctors at Bạch Mai Hospital’s Gastrointestinal Center in the capital city perform colonoscopy on a patient. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – Test results at 38 central hospitals in Hà Nội have been mutually recognised since August 1, but the move seems to have done little to improve healthcare so far.

Dương Đức Hùng, Head of Integrated Planning Department under Bạch Mai Hospital, said the hospital conducts millions of tests annually. The hospital is one of the 38 that is mutually recognizing tests, however only a few patient examinations and test results have been mutually recognised.

“To use the same test results, hospitals need to share common test standards. In reality, there are many hospitals at the same level transferring patients to Bạch Mai Hospital without re-conducting tests as regulated by the Ministry of Health. This will help to save costs of treatment, transportation and even patients’ valuable time,” said Hùng.

However, only some tests have stable results which do not require to be conducted again at other facilities. Complete blood count and liver enzymes, for example, are tests that need to be conducted before every medical examination. Doctors even need patients to retake blood tests, according to Hùng.

“Doctors will decide whether to use test results released by other laboratories. In some cases, we have to conduct tests two to three times or consult independent facilities for clear results and good treatment regimens,” he added.

Put people’s health first

According to Lương Ngọc Khuê, Head of Health Ministry’s Medical Service Administration, the mutual recognition of test results does not just aim to save treatment expenses, but prioritises the health of patients.

“Based on the patient’s condition, doctors are responsible for all decisions. For better diagnosis, treatment and supervision, they can ask to conduct tests several times,” Khuê said.  

Sharing the same concern, Nguyễn Ngọc Hiền, Deputy Director of Bạch Mai Hospital said the Ministry of Health’s plan to mutually recognise test results could create favourable conditions for patients and reduce test costs. “Test results at any laboratory are important for a better understanding of a patient’s medical history,” Hien said.

In addition, Hiền stressed the importance of mutual recognition of not only test results but also image analysis, supersonic results and even patients’ information. 

According to Khuê, there are about 50 ISO-15189 compliant laboratories at 40 central and provincial hospitals in Việt Nam. The Ministry of Health has developed criteria for biochemical, blood and microbiological tests applied among laboratories. This is a foundation for hospital and medical facilities to mutually recognise and use test results in treatments. – VNS