The changing socioeconomic and demographic trends of Vietnam are driving the evolution of the country’s healthcare system. Average life expectancy in Vietnam has increased to 73.5 years, urbanization is up by ~3%, and the country’s internet penetration is now at two-thirds of the total populace—creating a unique setting that demands a higher quality of care for an aging and highly urbanized population.
The white paper A Look Forward: How Digitalization is Transforming Vietnam’s Healthcare System by YCP Solidiance explores how different stakeholders—public and private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device providers, and start-ups—are utilizing digital technology to create smarter and more efficient healthcare solutions.
Public and Private Hospitals
As with other countries in ASEAN, creating “smart” hospitals through digital technology and automated processes will help ease the burden shouldered by Vietnam’s hospitals, which are grappling with increasingly complex medical issues faced by an aging population. Hospitals both public and private have started installing digital signages and booking kiosks and are now implementing e-payment methods to make the hospital experience more efficient and streamlined for patients. Smart hospitals also have government support via the Ministry of Health’s Circular 54, which outlines the 7 levels of information technology advancement needed to be called “smart” hospitals.
Laws limit the relationship pharmaceutical companies can have with customers, but they are also utilizing digital solutions via educational platforms to address the need for quality heath information. With more people being diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and chronic illness, education is crucial for the general population. Pharmaceutical companies have launched websites, mobile apps, and other digitally-powered campaigns to empower consumers to learn more about their health and well-being through approachable and easily accessible science.
Medical Device Companies
Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing markets for medical devices in Southeast Asia. Spending for medical devices is projected to grow 9.6% per annum from 2017 to 2022, as existing medical equipment in major public and private hospitals are slowly being upgraded to provide better quality of care. Already, digital initiatives have been adopted in the fields of radiology, picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), technical support, and in MRI and ECG procedures.
The landscape of healthcare start-ups in Vietnam is relatively small compared to other industries, making up only 2% of investments at USD 7 million in 2019. While the sector is still fairly new, three main objectives are driving its growth as more investors and stakeholders are seeing their value:
- Expanding accessibility to healthcare services through home care and telemedicine, in the form of online booking apps
- Transforming the doctor-patient relationship through digital platforms that allow patients to read reviews, and healthcare apps that open new channels of communication for patients to raise their concerns, ask questions, and opt for a more streamlined medical experience
- Promoting a healthy lifestyle for disease prevention through mobile apps that allow users to track their health and fitness progress