Shaping the future of healthcare in Vietnam

The Vietnamese government and the Ministry of Health will hold the conference entitled “eHealth Vietnam Summit 2020” on December 29-30 in Hanoi to accelerate the digital transformation in the health sector, the use of technological achievements to raise the quality of treatments and enhance patient satisfaction as the country seeks to expand its remote healthcare network nationwide.

Overview and approaches of the health sector's digital transformation will be high on the agenda of the “eHealth Vietnam Summit 2020”, according to the organizers.

Remote healthcare consultation and support has become critically important this year when travels are restricted and hospitals face huge challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreaks.

Vietnam, which has been praised by the international community for its success in containing the outbreaks, has established Telehealth, a network aimed to connect some 14,000 health facilities nationwide and link them with other countries in the medical field, part of the nation's digital transformation programme towards 2025, with a vision to 2030.

The network will allow people nationwide to access medical services, receive consultation and treatment by doctors from higher-level hospitals remotely, thus reducing patient congestion at the central hospitals, said a report shared on the Ministry of Health website in September.

By September, the network connected 1,000 medical examination and treatment facilities with nearly 30 key hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, according to the Ministry of Health. In November, it required all hospitals in the country to get connected to the network for treatment, practice sharing and learning.

Amid the country’s strong call for digital transformation this year, Abbott, the Chicago-based company being on the forefront of innovation for more than 130 years, has continuously brought life-changing technologies and breakthroughs in diagnostics, medical device, medicines and nutrition to Vietnam. This demonstrated the company’s long-standing commitment as a strategic partner to shape the future of healthcare in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia.

In order to raise speed, efficiency and accuracy to ensure faster diagnosis and treatment in place for patients, Abbott has brought in Alinity, a family of systems that reinvents the way diagnostic laboratories work by simplifying diagnosis.

Alinity, derived from ALignment, INnovation and UnITY, has been made available in 18 hospitals and six blood banks including Medic, Cho Ray Hospital, Tu Du Hospital, Hung Vuong Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City Medical University Hospital, Danang General Hospital, DIAG, Hanoi Medical University Hospital and the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion.

In 2020, Abbott has introduced Alinity m, its latest new generation platform, fully integrated and automated molecular diagnostics analyzer that uses innovative technology to deliver greater flexibility and efficiency. The platform is now available in hospitals and healthcare facilities including the Military Hospital 108, Medic, Medlatec, Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi as well as Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.


Innovations revolutionizes Vietnam’s healthcare

Vietnam's health facilities have now been utilising Abbott's advanced technology, diagnostics systems and devices, including High-Sensitivity Troponin-I Test, DBS viral loading test and first-of-its-kind, life-saving device MitraClip designed for people with common heart valve disorders.

The High-Sensitivity Troponin-I Test, also known as Hs Troponin-I test, aims to check the level of troponin, a protein found specifically in heart muscle cells. A high content of the macronutrient detected from the test provides better predictive information for determining a person's chances of developing future heart disease when added to the current standard of care.

The test also offers gender-specific cut-offs, allowing physicians to more accurately diagnose myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attacks, in women. A study published in the British Medical Journal found Abbott's test uncovered twice as many heart attacks in women than standard troponin tests. It is exceptionally crucial for doctors to have early diagnosis of a heart attack then act quickly in critical moments. As in Vietnam, one out of three people suffers from heart attack each year.

Abbott’s Hs Troponin-I test has become the first and only one approved by the Health Ministry to aid cardiac risk stratification thanks to its significance and efficiency. Therefore, the test now not only serves the patients facing heart disease risks but also is dedicated to everyone to better manage their health.

If the Hs Troponin-I test is aimed to serve a larger community, the DBS test, fully known as the dried blood spot test, helps ease the access to HIV viral load testing for Vietnamese people in remote areas as the procedure is simple and requires no refrigeration. It uses a few blood drops dried on a filter paper before being shipped to a laboratory for analysis. The process has recently been expanded to HCV testing, and proves efficient especially in this tough time of fighting the pandemic.

In order to advance heart and cardiovascular disease treatments, Abbott brings minimally invasive mitral valve repair device MitraClip, a transcatheter-based device, to help Vietnamese people with common heart valve disorders. MitraClip procedure involves doctors guiding a thin tube through patient’s vein to mitral valve and help it close more completely without open-heart surgery, thus enabling the patient to return to regular life faster.

In October, Prix Galien USA has honoured Abbott’s revolutionary MitraClip therapy as the Best Medical Technology for 2020. Considered as the industry's equivalent of the Nobel Prize in biopharmaceutical and medical technology research, the award recognizes excellence in scientific innovation that improves the state of humankind. This device has transformed the lives of more than 100,000 people globally living with mitral regurgitation, or a leaky heart valve.

Innovation for better health tomorrow

For 25 years expanding in Vietnam, Abbott has achieved sustainable business growth, developed strong local talent and offered significant opportunities. The company has continuously offered Vietnam with breakthroughs in nutrition, medicines, diagnostics and medical devices.

Vietnam has been one of the first countries where Abbott’s nutrition business has launched breakthrough products, such as Similac Eye-Q Plus with HMO to empower baby future by nurturing stronger immunity and brain development; PediaSure MRI with Arginine and natural Vitamin K2 to further support children to reach their optimal growth and unlock potential; Ensure Gold with special nutritional ingredient HMB, protein, calcium, vitamins and nutrients to help elderly people overcome the loss of muscle and strength in ageing.

Glucerna, the newly enhanced reformulation designed to help people with diabetes, is the latest arrival this month from Abbott. The dual therapeutic benefits of Glucerna’s new formulation promote GLP-1 secretion with its unique nutrients and improve insulin sensitivity for better glycemic control.

Besides, Abbott has also introduced Surbex Natural Lingzhi, another science-based health supporting product available in capsules that boost immunity strength, enhance the liver function and overall body resistance.  This helps people have positive energy and get back to what they love doing.

Last month, Abbott was honoured No.1 in Pharma/Medical Equipment/Healthcare for seven consecutive years in the list of “Vietnam Best Places to Work 2020”. The recognition in Vietnam affirms Abbott’s leadership in healthcare industry for seven consecutive years for creating innovative and winning culture to empower employees to reach their full potentials.

Abbott has demonstrated its strong long-term commitment in sharing global expertise to advance Vietnam’s healthcare for the last 25 years. Abbott and its foundation, the Abbott Fund, have provided more than VND250 billion (US$10.5 million) in grants and product donations to address critical health issues, with focus on removing barriers preventing Vietnamese people from living healthy life, and strengthening the country’s health sector.