Patient-Centered Care: Transforming the Health Care System in Vietnam With Support of Digital Health Technology

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J Med Internet Res. 2021 Jun 4;23(6):e24601. doi: 10.2196/24601.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Over the recent decades, Vietnam has attained remarkable achievements in all areas of health care. However, shortcomings including health disparities persist particularly with a rapidly aging population. This has resulted in a shift in the disease burden from communicable to noncommunicable diseases such as dementia, cancer, and diabetes. These medical conditions require long-term care, which causes an accelerating crisis for the health sector and society. The current health care system in Vietnam is unlikely to cope with these challenges.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper was to explore the opportunities, challenges, and necessary conditions for Vietnam in transforming toward a patient-centered care model to produce better health for people and reduce health care costs.

METHODS: We examine the applicability of a personalized and integrated Bespoke Health Care System (BHS) for Vietnam using a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat analysis and examining the successes or failures of digital health care innovations in Vietnam. We then make suggestions for successful adoption of the BHS model in Vietnam.

RESULTS: The BHS model of patient-centered care empowers patients to become active participants in their own health care. Vietnam’s current policy, social, technological, and economic environment favors the transition of its health care system toward the BHS model. Nevertheless, the country is in an early stage of health care digitalization. The legal and regulatory system to protect patient privacy and information security is still lacking. The readiness to implement electronic medical records, a core element of the BHS, varies across health providers and clinical practices. The scarcity of empirical evidence and evaluation regarding the effectiveness and sustainability of digital health initiatives is an obstacle to the Vietnamese government in policymaking, development, and implementation of health care digitalization.

CONCLUSIONS: Implementing a personalized and integrated health care system may help Vietnam to address health care needs, reduce pressure on the health care system and society, improve health care delivery, and promote health equity. However, in order to adopt the patient-centered care system and digitalized health care, a whole-system approach in transformation and operation with a co-design in the whole span of a digital health initiative developing process are necessary.

PMID:34085939 | DOI:10.2196/24601