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Health sector works to improve services

Update: January, 16/2015 - 08:42
Doctors conduct a heart operation at the Ha Noi Heart Hospital. The health ministry has worked on key issues to improve healthcare services, including IT, medical equipment management and transperancy.-VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Health has strengthened efforts to improve healthcare services by working on key issues, including IT, medical equipment management and transparency.

Deputy director of the ministry's Information Technology Department, Nguyen Hoang Phuong, said at a conference on IT application in the healthcare sector yesterday that IT was key to improving healthcare services and simplifying related administrative procedures.

The ministry had applied IT to organise online conferences, diagnosis, treatment and consultation, he said.

He reported that all national hospitals had employed the use of IT, but provincial and district hospitals trailed behind.

Information connections between hospitals using IT remained limited.

Addressing the conference, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam said IT in the healthcare system was important but its application remained low.

"The reason is that only a few specialised enterprises work in the field of medical IT, leaving many hospitals on their own," he said.

"This is a market that has a lot of potential and can be sustainable; enterprises should make their move," he added.

He called on IT businesses to work more in the field of healthcare and the ministries of Health and Information and Communications to promote IT application in the healthcare sector.

Deputy PM Dam earlier called on the ministry to tighten the management of medical equipment, particularly in the bidding process and the assessment of equipment quality.

"Transparency in all stages including licensing, bidding and quality assessment is the strongest and most effective method to improve the quality of medical equipment," Dam said at the conference on Wednesday.

He asked all hospitals and local health departments to publicise their bidding on new equipment and quality assessments on the ministry's official website and on the Ministry of Planning and Investment's (MoPI) State bidding network.

The Ministry of Health has also worked closely with other ministries to support domestic companies that produce medical equipment.

A large number of domestically produced medical products like beds, gloves and infusion lines were often purchased by state hospitals, said Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

However, domestic companies failed to provide advanced medical equipment, leaving hospitals with no choice but to import equipment, she said.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong said that an independent specialist board had been jointly established by the ministry and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The board assessed all medical equipment to be purchased with the State budget, whether it was imported or produced by a domestic company.

"All products will be assessed based on the same criteria of technological sophistication and cost, therefore it will make competition for domestic companies fairer," Dong said.

The board members include representatives from domestic companies, import companies, foreign manufacturers and specialised management agencies. — VNS

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