Despite managing to successfully contain COVID-19 early into the pandemic, Vietnam now faces a dangerous surge of infections. According to data from Worldometer, Vietnam has recorded a total of 128,110 cases in July alone with new cases peaking at 9,256 in a single day.
To combat the rising number of cases, the Vietnamese government is taking steps to protect its citizens, such as allotting 1.2 billion USD to the procurement of 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Beyond this, Vietnam is also looking to bolster its efforts and prevent mass infection by means of telemedicine.
Digitalization of Healthcare
Based on the white paper A Look Forward: How Digitalization is Transforming Vietnam’s Healthcare System by YCP Solidiance, Vietnam’s stakeholders – which comprises citizens and institutions alike – are primed for the emergence of digital and technologically based medical solutions.
In line with this trend, Vietnam has launched its own online COVID-19 vaccination platform, allowing the government to better handle registration and tracking of inoculation. As reported by Vietnam Net Global, the online platform will be a five-step process with the initial step being electronic booking of a vaccination schedule, then after confirmation of appointment from medical centers, citizens will be able to access a portal in which vaccination schedule, status, and certification are shown. By digitizing the country’s vaccination drive, Vietnam not only improves its overall vaccination process, but more importantly, a boost in efficiency will continue to improve the previously recorded rate of 2.3% vaccinated citizens.
Additionally, medical professionals across the country have formed a network wherein COVID-19 patients unable to physically visit medical centers may avail of a variety of online services, specifically teleconsultations, risk assessment, and counselling services. The service, Vn Express, is an encouraging venture as it is proof that the digitalization of healthcare in Vietnam is feasible, even amidst the pandemic.
A Digital Future
While Vietnam is slowly on its way to digitizing its healthcare sector, the benefit of choosing to do so can be seen in other countries within Southeast Asia.
Much like the initiatives launched by Vietnam, the Indonesian government has tapped privately-run telemedicine start-ups to provide free services to COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.
Meanwhile, according to the YCP Solidiance white paper The Future of Smart Hospitals in Thailand, the Samutprakan Hospital has successfully applied digital solutions to pre-existing operational infrastructure and processes. In doing so, the facility and its proponents were able to address several issues through digitization, such as unconsolidated patient records, excessive workload, and the introduction of telemedicine in hard to access areas.
Considering that Vietnam and its neighbors have started their transition toward the inclusion of digitized healthcare, while still early this trend is encouraging as it suggests continued development. Whether or not Vietnam’s growth in this regard can be attributed to the circumstances presented by the pandemic, nevertheless, the decision to do so stands to benefit the country’s healthcare both short and long-term.
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