Written medical records could be on their way out, as pilot software will allow patients to use codes to access their e-prescriptions on a national online prescription system.
Speaking at a workshop last week, Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of Medical Services Administration under the health ministry, said the software would be applied across the country at all public and private healthcare facilities after a recently launched pilot in Ha Tinh and Hung Yen provinces.
According to Khue, among nearly 50,000 medical facilities nationwide, 95 per cent have prescription management software. However, the data is not synchronised, making it difficult to share data among facilities.
Up to 70 per cent of pharmacies have medicine management software but still sell medicine without prescriptions.
Private medical facilities, prescriptions are written so it is difficult to track who prescribed the medicine and to ensure the prescribed medicine is sold to patients.
"Since the software is applied nationwide, written medical records will be replaced with technology," he said.
All prescriptions sent from healthcare facilities nationwide would be saved on the software and shared with patients and medicine suppliers.
The e-prescriptions would be connected with e-medical records.
Through the system, only prescribed medicines could be sold to avoid the abuse of antibiotics and controlled medicine.
"Patients can track the names of doctors who prescribed the medicine to ask for repeat prescriptions and give feedback. Data will be saved on the system to identify prescription violations," he said.
Patients would be also warned of outdated and prohibited medicine.
Nguyen Ha, an office worker in Hanoi's Hoan Kiem District, said "The national e-prescription is such a good idea to manage prescription in the era of 4.0. My parents and children have to go to hospitals for health check-ups regularly. It's more convenient without having to bring written prescriptions. I only need to tell the pharmacist the code to buy medicine."
The system is being piloted in Ha Tinh and Hung Yen and has been assessed as operating smoothly so far. The pilot is set to end in a year.
All prescriptions have been sent to the software and shared with the health ministry, local health departments and healthcare facilities. Pharmacies have received the prescriptions and sold medicine following the prescriptions.
With only one code for each prescription, patients can buy medicine anywhere in Vietnam.
In 2018, the health ministry launched a software to connect medicine supplying facilities. This year the ministry has made a move with online prescriptions in order to push towards electronic healthcare.