HCMC City Accelerating Digitization of Healthcare Services

Aug 2019

As part of its smart city development plans, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) city departments, including health, have been asked to publish by the third quarter of 2019 their requirements for building databases and IT systems. Relevant IT companies will subsequently be invited to participate in bids for the work. 

The health department will digitize health records at 24 ward and commune health stations providing primary healthcare if approval is obtained from the Department of Information and Communication (at the national level the health ministry targets 90% coverage of electronic Medical records by 2025). The department is also developing software for managing individuals’ health information at the 24 health stations. In March 2019, an telemedicine IT system was set up to link the health stations with city-level hospitals. 

The department has also collaborated with the HCM City University of Technology for a project to make electronic health records uniform and facilitate data exchange between hospitals. Previously in 2016, the department launched an electronic portal for individuals and companies to search for information about licenses. Utilities such as messages and emails have now been incorporated into the portal to help track the department’s processing of applications.

The department has also connected digitally with medicine suppliers and traders in the city. More than 6,000 suppliers and traders in the city have been linked up with the national pharmaceutical database. A system to manage the supply and use of drugs at hospitals under the department will be developed to prevent medicine shortages. 

In addition to all the above initiatives, software has been developed for issuing disease outbreak warnings and administrative functions such as finance.

The department is facing a shortage of healthcare IT experts, who have understanding of both health and IT domains, hindering the digitization of healthcare services. Currently, universities in the country do not provide healthcare IT training. Hospitals are employing IT engineers who have developed expertise in health on their own, while some doctors are also learning IT. 

(Source: Vietnam News)

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