Telemedicine in Vietnam: Regulations and their Impact on Healthcare Service Providers
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Telemedicine in Vietnam: Regulations and their Impact on Healthcare Service Providers

3 min.

I. Definition

Telemedicine is the provision of healthcare services facilitated “remotely”, without the need for in-person interaction. This activity is carried out by healthcare professionals using information and communication technology to gather information for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and injuries, with the aim of improving individual and community health.

Telemedicine is not a substitute for direct healthcare. However, it has been applied to specific diseases and conditions specified in the remote examination and treatment list.

II. Legal Framework

1. Law on Healthcare Examination and Treatment No. 15/2023/QH15, issued on January 9, 2023 (“Healthcare Law”).

2. Circular No. 30/2023/TT-BYT regulating the list of diseases, conditions for remote examination and treatment (“Circular No. 30”).

Since the beginning of 2023, the Ministry of Health in Vietnam has initiated the digital transformation of healthcare activities and comprehensive health management for the population. This includes:

  • Establishing the VTelehealth telemedicine consultation support platform (“Platform”).
  • Integrating the Platform with other healthcare software such as hospital information systems (HIS), electronic medical records systems (EMR), laboratory information systems (LIS), picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), and telemedicine support solutions.
  • Integrating the Platform with healthcare databases, including but not limited to the national drug database, electronic prescription database, healthcare workforce database and the professional practice management database.

From January 1, 2024, the Healthcare Law and Circular No. 30 officially took effect, stipulating the application of telemedicine and support for telemedicine among healthcare facilities. In addition, the Ministry of Health specifies a list of 50 diseases in approximately 20 specialties which are eligible for telemedicine. These conditions fall under pathological situations that can be diagnosed through information inquiry without the need for imaging, invasive procedures or surgery. This includes diseases with existing medical records requiring follow-up or re-examination, and infectious diseases that can be treated at home.

III. Impact on the Healthcare Service Industry

The development of telemedicine services profoundly affects the healthcare industry in various ways that businesses and organizations operating in this field need to consider:

1. Improved Service Accessibility: Telemedicine removes geographical barriers, enabling patients, especially those in remote or difficult-to-reach areas, to access large, high-quality healthcare centres.

2. Enhanced Healthcare Services: Telemedicine allows continuous monitoring of patients with chronic diseases, ensuring timely intervention and reducing the need for frequent hospital visits.

3. Increased Efficiency and Productivity: Telemedicine streamlines administrative processes, reducing paperwork and administrative burdens on healthcare providers.

4. Optimized Resource Utilization: By managing appointments more efficiently and reducing non-essential in-person visits.

5. Cost Savings: Telemedicine can result in cost savings for both patients and healthcare providers by minimizing the need for physical infrastructure, travel expenses and administrative overheads.

6. Public Health Assurance: Telemedicine contributes to public health efforts by enabling remote monitoring and early detection of disease outbreaks, facilitating a more proactive response.

7. Challenges:

  • Compliance with complex regulations is essential to ensure adherence to healthcare laws and standards.
    Data security and patient privacy are crucial, and telemedicine platforms must comply with strict privacy and data security standards.
  • Successful technology integration, including incorporating telemedicine into existing healthcare systems, and ensuring continuous interaction with individual electronic health records, is necessary.
  • Increased competition among healthcare facilities: Telemedicine supports the transition from fee-for-service models to value-based care, focusing on improving patient outcomes and experiences. Therefore, with geographical barriers eliminated, patients have more healthcare facility choices.

In conclusion, the development of telehealth services has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by improving access, enhancing patient care, increasing efficiency and transforming traditional healthcare service models.

However, careful consideration of factors, including legal regulations, technology, and ethics, is necessary to address the related challenges.

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Contact us:

Vu Manh Quynh
Nguyen Nhuan
ECOVIS Vietnam Law / ECOVIS Orient Counsel
#2 Phan Van Dang Street
Level 1, Toong VistaVerde,
71100, Thu Duc City Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: +84 898 120 121