Towards an Electronic Health Record System in Vietnam: A Core Readiness Assessment

Stefan HOCHWARTER, Do Duy CUONG, Nguyen Thi Kim CHUC, Mattias LARSSON

Abstract


Previous studies have shown that health information technologies have a positive impact on health systems. Electronic health record (EHR) systems are one of the most promising applications, demonstrating a positive effect in high income countries. On the other hand, robust evidence for low and middle income countries is still sparse. The aim of this study is to initiate a carefully planned nationwide EHR system in Vietnam by assessing the core readiness.
The assessment structure is mainly based on previous research, which recommends a readiness assessment prior to an EHR system implementation. To collect data, participant observation, document analysis and an in-depth interview were used.
This study has revealed new insights into the current situation on EHR in Vietnam. The Ministry of Health is currently working on improving the conditions for future implementation of a Vietnamese EHR system. There are issues with the current way of handling health records. These issues are encouraging the Ministry of Health to work on identifying the next steps for an EHR system implementation. The integration of an EHR system with current systems seems to be challenging, as most systems are commercial, closed source and very likely have no standardised interface/gateway.
In conclusion, this study identifies points which need to be further investigated prior to an implementation. Generally, health care workers show good awareness of new technologies. As the Vietnam’s health care system is centrally organised, there is the possibility for a nation-wide implementation. This could have a great positive impact on the health care system, however, besides rigours planning also standards need to be followed and common gateways implemented. Finally, this assessment has focused only on one level of a readiness assessment. Further research is needed to complete the assessment.

Keywords


EHR; readiness assessment; Vietnam; LMIC.

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