Health ministry wants to promote cashless payments in the health sector

September 21, 2019 - 08:09

The Ministry of Health has set out a plan to promote e-payments, or cashless payments, in the health sector, especially for health check-ups and treatment services at medical facilities nationwide.

Delegates launch the portal on supporting medical electronic transactions in Hà Nội on Friday. — VNS Photo Thanh Hải

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has set out a plan to promote e-payments, or cashless payments, in the health sector, especially for health check-ups and treatment services at medical facilities nationwide.

Speaking at an online conference on Friday in Hà Nội, health minister Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến said the implementation of non-cash payments will be an important task of the health sector.

Tiến said that non-cash payments have many benefits, including improved safety, speed and accuracy. It also allows people to access and make payments not only within the country but even globally.

“To date, cashless payments have been applied at about 30 medical facilities nationwide, gaining remarkable results. At several hospitals, non-cash payments made up 35 per cent of total payment transactions for health check-ups and treatment, reducing congestion, queuing time and improving patient satisfaction,” said Tiến.   

However, Tiến said, there are still many difficulties in expanding cashless payments in the health sector, such as low rate of hospitals using cashless payment systems or shortcomings in connecting with banking software or between organisations providing intermediary services and information systems of hospitals.

“Vietnamese people are still used to paying for medical services with cash,” said the health minister.
“Recently, the health sector has accelerated the application of IT and ensured infrastructure in improving management activities, quality of medical services and satisfaction of patients in fields of public administration, health check-up and treatment; medical and pharmaceutical training. This will be the foundation for implementing electronic payments for services,” said Tiến.  

At the event, the health ministry requested units in the sector to develop action plans, resources and conditions to implement suitable non-cash payment solutions.

The ministry asked hospitals and health facilities to actively deploy various forms of electronic payments for hospital fees and tuition, such as via credit card, smartphone, electronic wallets and electronic payment gateways.

“For people who have no bank card or account, health facilities must work with banks to implement a convenient non-cash payment solution,” said Tiến.

At the same time, the health sector will also promote communication and strengthen people’s awareness on the significance and important utilities of non-cash payment, encouraging people to use cashless methods in paying hospital fees and tuition.

The State bank of Việt Nam Deputy Governor Nguyễn Kim Anh said that the SBV will continue to work with the health sector in improving people’s experience and satisfaction in paying treatment fees, reducing queues, contributing to improving the quality of check-up and treatment services.

SBV also suggested commercial banks research and apply incentive policies and affordable service fees for payment of hospital fees and implement incentives, promotion and discount programmes to change habits and behaviours of customers in paying hospital fees from cash to e-payments.

“SBV will instruct commercial banks to work closely with medical facilities in providing safe, fast, accurate service products and payment methods with affordable fees,” added Anh. 

A report of the State Bank of Việt Nam showed that around 50 per cent of Vietnamese people still do not have bank accounts or e-payment cards. Fees for cashless payments are still high and there is a lack of payment methods for medical services at hospitals in mountainous and remote areas, hindering the development of non-cash payments in the health sector.

Việt Nam currently has more than 70 banks providing Mobile Banking and 31 e-wallets of intermediary payment service providers that can participate in providing cashless payment solutions. Nearly 14,000 health facilities use bank accounts nationwide.— VNS