Minister urges hospitals to make online appointment booking available hinh anh 1Through tele-ICU, critically ill patients in distant ICUs are examined daily by Bach Mai Hospital’s leading experts. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, during a conference in Hanoi on April 9, urged hospitals to quickly approve online appointment booking for medical examinations as it will provide convenience for both patients and health workers.

Connected health record system

Hospitals must also adopt a single standardised and coherent health record system in the very near future to avoid inconsistencies and non-uniformity in the storage of health data, he told the video teleconference on how to better organise medical examination appointments.

The VSS (Vietnam Social Security) has developed a full nationwide database of the medical history records of health insurance holders and manages it via social security codes but this database has not been connected with other departments nor been used for other purposes.

Digital health records and online examination booking systems must be connected with other medical services such as immunisation, Long noted. He added that this has since become even more important as the data of people vaccinated against COVID-19 also needs to be digitised and synced to their e-health records for lifelong use.

Long emphasised that people should be able to schedule an appointment online with their health insurance number and a successful booking should provide them with the time of the appointment, the doctor they are going to see and the exact location.

Minister urges hospitals to make online appointment booking available hinh anh 2Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long speaks at the conference. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

A standardised and connected health record system, meanwhile, will enable doctors to easily access a patient’s history of visits to health service providers with notes from those visits, reports of diagnostic procedures, test results, prescriptions and other details in order to enhance clinical decision support.

He further stated that hospitals that have already implemented online appointment booking will coordinate with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to connect and sync their systems into the main standardised system which is now under construction. The new system will be provided to all health service providers free of charge and all data will be managed by the ministry, he added.

Long also revealed the MoH and VSS have reached an agreement, starting from July 1, that only hospitals offering online appointment booking will receive payments from out-patient medical services covered by health insurance.

The new policy may seem harsh, according to the minister, but necessary as only through enacting such tough measures can we make things happen, he said.

The use of tele-ICU

Minister urges hospitals to make online appointment booking available hinh anh 3Deputy Director of Bach Mai Hospital Assoc. Prof. Dao Xuan Co. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Many centrally-run hospitals are applying information technology solutions to ease overloads and build capacity for local medical service providers.

Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital, for example, is currently operating a system on a trial basis called ‘tele-ICU’. Developed by VMED Group, it enables the remote support of critically ill patients. The system connects Bach Mai Hospital with general hospitals in the northern provinces of Yen Bai and Phu Tho.

With tele-ICU, Bach Mai Hospital can use an off-site command centre where its critical care team can connect with bedside staff in distant ICUs to exchange medical information and consult on patient care through real-time audio, visual and electronic means.

Tele-ICU marks a big step forward in Bach Mai Hospital’s digital transformation, Deputy Director Assoc. Prof. Dao Xuan Co said where critically ill patients in the two more remote hospitals can receive daily examinations from Bach Mai’s leading experts.

Tran Lan Anh, Director of Yen Bai General Hospital, said the application of tele-ICU helps her hospital save much-needed time when it comes to caring for patients.

The system is also being piloted at Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Thanh Hoa General Hospital, HCM City’s Children Hospital 1 and Soc Trang Paediatric Hospital./.

Minister urges hospitals to make online appointment booking available hinh anh 4Health workers in Phu Tho’s Hung Vuong General Hospital receive consultation from Bach Mai Hospital’s experts via tele-ICU. (Photo: VietnamPlus).