The Ministry of Health said 38 hospitals under its management will share medical test results from early next month to reduce expenses for patients who are often required to redo all their tests when they switch hospitals. — Photo hanoimoi.vn
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health said 38 hospitals under its management will share medical test results from early next month to reduce expenses for patients who are often required to redo all their tests when they switch hospitals.
According to the Medical Services Administration under the ministry, about 250 million biochemical, 200 million blood and 25 million microbiological tests are conducted at hospitals a year, an annual increase of 10 per cent.
About VNĐ237 billion (US$10 million) could be saved a year if one per cent of the tests, or 4.75 million, are cut, said Lương Ngọc Khuê, director of the Medical Services Administration.
Doctors have recently found that the excess of medical tests occurred partly because doctors did not trust results from other hospitals, he said, adding that another reason was that doctors often did not carefully consider patients’ files before asking them to undergo medical examinations
Therefore, an approved roadmap would allow test results to be shared among special-grade and first-grade hospitals from January 1 next year, among hospitals within a province by 2020 and by all hospitals across the country by 2025.
However, according to the Medical Services Administration, test results at different hospitals can be different, with the quality of those by central and provincial-level hospitals better than those at lower levels.
The ministry has issued test criteria for laboratories and a list of tests which can be shared among hospitals. The country currently has over 50 laboratories meeting ISO 15189 standards, with 50 per cent of them endorsed by the ministry and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Võ Xuân Sơn, director of ExSon International Clinic, said the sharing of medical tests could help reduce unnecessary tests and thus stop bothering patients, but if it is considered a tool for stopping doctors from prescribing tests, it would affect the quality of medical examinations and treatments.
“Sometimes, I have to refuse to use patients’ medical tests done by other laboratories - when they are out of date or lack of credibility,” he said.
“In order to be able to share medical tests among hospitals, the utmost condition is for the quality of the testing centres to be on the same level. When previous test results are no longer valid or may not be credible, doctors still have to request other tests. If a doctor has to take responsibility for treatment of a patient, he or she have to have the right to believe or not believe in tests to give a diagnosis,” Sơn said.
"Seeking to limit re-testing by claiming it is abusive, the treatment quality will be adversely affected. It can even be a barrier to effective treatment and create misunderstandings for patients,” he said. “Of course, I always explain clearly to patients if I need to re-test them,” he said.
Thống Nhất Hospital’s director, Professor Nguyễn Đức Công, suggested the ministry make clear what tests can be shared, and that ultrasound scans and imaging tests not be allowed for sharing because their quality is decided by the qualifications of those carrying out those tests. — VNS