Healthcare digitalization in Vietnam has significant room to grow given the early stage of development. Amid the ongoing pandemic COVID-19 cases, digital channels are also being used by the government to provide information, raise awareness and educate people in containing the spread of the virus. According to the latest report from YCP Solidiance, titled “A Look Forward: How Digitalization is Transforming Vietnam’s Healthcare System”, investment opportunities in Vietnam’s digital healthcare arise to enhance three key areas, including patient experience, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as operational efficiency.

In order to enhance patient’s experience, pharmaceutical companies, medical device suppliers, healthcare providers as well as healthtech start-ups in Vietnam can leverage digital technologies to raise public awareness on important health issues in the country and provide additional communication channels for patients with a range of healthcare professionals.

As for diagnosis and treatment improvement, although short-term investment on advanced technologies is currently focusing at key medical hubs such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Tier II cities like Hai Phong, Hue, and Da Nang, technology and skills transfer can also transform lower-level hospitals and those in smaller cities and towns over time.

Meanwhile, the opportunity for operational efficiency enhancement is significantly driven by the Ministry of Health’s strategic initiatives for a smart healthcare system and also the urgent need to tackle overcapacity issues of public hospitals and demand for digital solutions to enhance operational efficiency that remains strong across Vietnam.

The report suggested businesses and key players in the industry develop a digital healthcare strategy that not only makes sense for the business but also serves to advance healthcare in Vietnam. They need to tailor strategies based on the diverse needs facing patients and stakeholders across the healthcare system.

Current State of Digital Transformation

Private hospitals in Vietnam are making a digital push to enhance their value proposition. In addition, hospital chains of several large private hospitals have incentives to continually upgrade their digital infrastructure not only to effectively manage the hospital branches but also to maintain their status of international standards.

Digital transformation is also making an impact on Vietnam’s pharmaceutical industry for patient education, healthcare professional engagement, and government monitor of drug dispensing. The Ministry of Health is currently pushing to connect all pharmacies into a national electronic database, with more than 80% of total pharmacies in Vietnam, have successfully connected. Training on IT applications for pharmaceutical and other healthcare professionals is also provided by the MoH to strengthen their prevention and control capability amid the ongoing cases of COVID-19.

As for medical device companies, they leverage digital technologies to improve patient outcomes such as digital radiography, PACS/RIS, remote technical support and AI solutions. Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing medical device markets in Southeast Asia, with an estimated growth of 9.6% annually between 2017 and 2022.