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Digital transformation offers better access to health services

Update: November, 24/2020 - 08:39



Minister, and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng. — VGP Photo

Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng talks to the press about the role of digital transformation in the health sector

In 2020, Việt Nam has managed to control and prevent the COVID-10 pandemic whilst ensuring economic growth. Can you evaluate the role of digital transformation in recent years?

Việt Nam has actively participated in the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the past few years. Việt Nam's start-up and innovation scene has also been dynamic. The country is following Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc's direction of realising the dual goal of preventing and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic whilst continuing to resume production and develop the economy.

Việt Nam is one of the few countries in the world with positive growth.

Many countries and international organisations appreciated the country’s approach as well as its proactiveness at the 37th Association of Southeast Asia Nations Summit held recently. At the summit, Prime Minister Phúc announced the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health which is expected to be located in Việt Nam, contributing to enhancing capacity building in the healthcare sector and strengthening national and regional co-ordination as well as future epidemic response measures.

The current situation poses huge challenges for the country. As PM Phúc often says, it is necessary to turn challenges into opportunities. This is an opportunity for us to promote the application of information technology (IT) and digital transformation. The reason this is an important solution is because it can limit contact between people through contactless transactions, epidemic prevention and socio-economic development.

As many as 130,000 businesses are set up in Việt Nam each year.

With the establishment of the National Startup Centre under the leadership of the Prime Minister, I believe that we will soon take the lead in successful digital transformation. There is a great growth potential because we have abundant human resources, excellent technicians and the participation and encouragement of the international community.

What’s your opinion about the role of digital transformation in the health sector given the country’s efforts to build an e-Government?

At the beginning of his term, the Prime Minister sent a message about his determination to build a creative Government that focused on people and businesses.

The PM always raises the issue of institutional building and improvement at Government meetings. Việt Nam is moving towards a digital Government and digital economy which promote transparency between the Government and the people, as well as information exchange and sharing among Government agencies in the four-level State administrative system.

The country has been building a public service system that benefits businesses and people, with transparency, efficiency, openness and accountability of State administrative agencies.

This has been achieved despite the fact we don't have databases for national population, land and regulations.

However, in a short time, we have done a lot of work including putting into operation the the National Reporting Information System, E-cabinet system, and National Public Service Portal. These are very important steps that mark significant contributions by ministries and localities.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) pioneered reforming administrative procedures, especially the issuance of Decree 15/2018 / NĐ-CP replacing Decree No. 38/2012 / NĐ-CP detailing the implementation of some articles of the Food Safety Law.

Feedback from enterprises showed that Decree 15 has removed difficulties for businesses when entering the market, reducing time and costs in the direction of streamlining administrative procedures on registration, publication, and specialised inspections of food. Particularly, 95 per cent of imported food shipments will no longer be subject to specialised inspections.

Given the fact the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on all countries and their economies, the health sector has applied information technology solutions to expand remote counselling and treatment at 1,500 health facilities.

The MoH is also promoting the use of electronic medical records to replace paper ones and non-cash payments at health facilities on the National Public Service Portal. If things go according to plan, there will be no need for patients to bring their medical records and payments for those covered by health insurance will be conducted quickly.

As of November 15, nearly 1,500 dossiers from the ministry had been submitted and processed on the portal.

Added to that, 100 public services are now available on the portal.

The MoH has publicised all issues related to equipment prices. In the future, the ministry will made public the price for all services and call for investment from the private sector to improve the quality of healthcare.

I believe that the health sector will fulfil the task assigned by the Prime Minister – that is taking the lead in the field of digital transformation.

The Government has shown a strong and decisive direction in the implementation of the National Digital Transformation Programme towards 2025, with a vision to 2030, aiming to turn Việt Nam into a stable and prosperous digital nation.  What is your expectation for the digital transformation of the health sector?

The National Digital Transformation Programme towards 2025, with a vision to 2030, has been approved by the Prime Minister. It required specific planning from each ministry, agency and locality.

We expect all contents related to the responsibilities of the MoH in terms of institutions, regulations and standards will continue to be completed and reported to the Prime Minister.

Digitalising medical services will mean people can enjoy the best benefits and services in medical examination and treatment.

The Government Office has co-ordinated with the MoH and related agencies to streamline cumbersome procedures, ensuring that health facilities across the country are connected on a shared platform. This is a new issue so we hope to receive positive response from the people.

In addition to assuring accuracy, timeliness and efficiency, the protection of personal data is also very important. Competent agencies will work with the MoH to ensure this. — VNS

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