Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Some 6.6 million people have received better medical treatment as a result of a project which rotates doctors from high-level to lower-level hospitals, implemented in Việt Nam since 2008.
After completing a three-month training course on diagnosing osteo-arthritis and giving peripheral joint injections at the E General Hospital in Hà Nội, Dr Phạm Thị Liên from the northern province of Lai Châu is much more confident.
Liên is now adept at combining traditional and modern medicinal disciplines at Tam Đường District clinic’s Department of Traditional Medicine.
“We are now able to help lots of patients get treatment for musculo-skeletal disorders,” Liên said. “We no longer have to transfer them to higher-level hospitals, and they give us lots of compliments.”
Liên went to the E General Hospital under a project known as Project 1816 that started in 2008.
In an effort to motivate medical graduates to help out in rural areas and take the pressure off urban hospitals, where patients flock for treatment, the system rotates doctors from higher-level to lower-level hospitals.
Launched by the Ministry of Health, it aims to improve health treatment at lower-level hospitals, reduce patient overload at higher-level hospitals; and transfer medical techniques to lower-level hospitals through on-the-job training for medical staff.
In 10 years of operation, about 10,000 doctors have moved for three months or so from higher-level to lower-level hospitals, providing far better treatment for about 6.6 million patients.
As part of efforts to reduce patient overload at higher-level hospitals, a medical collaboration project known as “satellite hospitals” was launched in 2013.
Considered a part of Project 1816, the project establishes and strengthens connections between higher-level and lower-level hospitals through training activities, technology transfer, improvement of facilities, and upgrading of medical equipment.
Twenty-two higher-level hospitals are participating in the project to support 117 satellite hospitals.
Taking part in the project in 2014, the Bình Định Traditional Medicine Hospital in the central province of Bình Định became a satellite hospital of the Central Acupuncture Hospital in Hà Nội. It received medical equipment from the Central Acupuncture Hospital for their two units: spinal pain management and special care for people with paralysis.
The equipment has improved Bình Định Traditional Medicine Hospital’s treatment quality and helped them attract more patients, the online newspaper baobinhdinh.com.vn reported.
The number of patients at the spinal pain management unit rose from 407 in 2014 (before the equipment transfer) to 803 in 2016, according to Dr Lê Phước Nin, the hospital’s director. The number of patients at the special care unit for people with paralysis rose from 418 in 2014 to 871 in 2016, he added.
“The average treatment duration has decreased from 22.2 days in 2015 to 21.2 in the first half of 2017, reducing costs for patients,” he said.
The higher-level hospitals and their satellite hospitals are connected through information technology (IT) systems. The use of telecommunication and IT to provide clinical health care from a distance (telemedicine) - is frequently applied at higher-level hospitals to conduct training, conferences, and group consultation with their satellite hospitals.
Having focused on reducing patient overload at the departments of cardiology, orthopaedics, obstetrics, pediatrics, and oncology at higher-level hospitals in the 2013-16 period, the "satellite hospitals" project will do the same for the endocrine, hematology and blood transfusion departments at these hospitals in the 2016-20 period. — VNS