Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — At least 13,000 of a total of 14,000 medical clinics nationwide have installed a healthcare insurance IT system since June.
“The healthcare insurance IT system has been very effective and created a breakthrough in healthcare, insurance management and administrative reform,” Nguyễn Thị Minh, general director of Việt Nam Healthcare Insurance, said.
“It has also created transparency and favourable conditions to ensure rights for healthcare insurance patients, and it has significantly saved expenditures,” she added.
Thanks to the system, unregulated expenditures can be detected, and patients’ waiting time has been reduced by half for check-ups and for making insurance payments.
Patients can also receive information about the costs of insurance and their rights and benefits. In addition, when travelling to clinics, patients now receive electronic waiting numbers.
At the Central Endocrine Hospital, checkups and other procedures have gone smoothly since IT networks have been installed.
The software provides codes for each patient and all information can be collected within minutes rather than hours. Also, patients do not need to go to many places within the hospital to get testing results.
In April, the hospital connected its two facilities in one system.
“In the future, the hospital will provide electronic healthcare cards which can be integrated with ATMs, allowing patients to pay all expenses with one click,” Dr Trần Ngọc Lương, director of the hospital, said.
At Ninh Bình’s Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital’s healthcare examining department, about 300 – 400 patients are seen each day.
In the past, procedures took a long time, with all information written by hand. Doctors’ treatment decisions were made and then insurance information had to be checked.
Now everything is done on computers, and the time for check-ups has been reduced.
“In the past I had to wait at least one hour for a checkup and one more hour for administrative procedures. Now I need to wait only 15 minutes for checkups and go through all procedures,” patient Nguyễn Thanh Hằng said.
The head of the hospital’s examining department, Dr Đinh Thị Yến, confirmed that IT applications in clinics had created favourable conditions not only for patients and their relatives but also for doctors and medical staff.
“When all information is connected, we have more time to check for patients, and we can then give them better advice and treatment. Our nurses have freed them from paperwork and they can support us in guiding patients,” Đinh Thị Yến said.
With the IT system, doctors can easily recognise the name of drugs, the amount, and the names of pharmacists.
“We have used IT applications in management since 2006, and every year, we plan to invest more and use new software to update our system,” Dr Phạm Văn Dậu, deputy director of the hospital, said.
The investments for the IT system follows the Ministry of Healthcare’s Plan 1418 on applying IT for healthcare insurance payments and an integrated healthcare database.
“IT applications for healthcare checkups and treatment as well as insurance payments have helped the hospital reduce time for paperwork, increase all resource management efficiency, limit losses of hospital fees, provide financial transparency, and control drug usage at a proper and safe level,” he added.
Dậu also said that IT applications still had a few problems, including limited capacity of human resources for IT, different software programmes at clinics, and an incomplete drug list suggested by the health ministry.
To promote IT application, many hospitals have spent funds to set up electronic hospital systems.
The Bạch Mai Hospital’s emergency department chose to set up an electronic hospital system (e-Hospital). Under the system, doctors in emergency departments can update testing results as well as image analysis in the fastest way possible.
With the e-Hospital system, patients at the hospital have their own files provided within minutes.
“With full electronic information of each patient, doctors now have more information in the database and more time to give better care,” a doctor at the hospital said.
During the first quarter of the year, 70 million people took part in healthcare insurance and 44 million people had health checkups, an increase of 5 per cent in comparison with the same period last year. For the first three months, Việt Nam Social Insurance paid nearly US$1 billion in healthcare benefits. — VNS