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Vietnam’s high-growth healthcare forecast to enjoy increased government investment: report

Vietnam’s high-growth healthcare forecast to enjoy increased government investment: report

Monday, June 10, 2024, 20:47 GMT+7
Vietnam’s high-growth healthcare forecast to enjoy increased government investment: report
A doctor checks the health of a patient at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre

Health expenditure in Vietnam will continue to grow by double digits, with public expenditure expected to grow faster than the private one, according to a report on the outlook for Vietnam’s healthcare sector recently published by BMI, a unit of Fitch Solutions.

Vietnam’s health expenditure is forecast to grow by a 2023-28 compound annual growth rate of 11.1 percent.

Health expenditure as a share of GDP was 5.1 percent in 2023, which was slightly higher than the Asia-Pacific region average of five percent.

Over 50 percent of healthcare spending in Vietnam is private with high levels of out-of-pocket spending in the sector, according to the report.

Private healthcare in Vietnam offers shorter waiting times and private hospital facilities have higher standards of care than public hospitals. 

Meanwhile, public hospitals often experience overcrowding due to the higher quality care available than at public primary services, resulting in patients bypassing primary care to access treatment. 

Despite higher levels of private expenditure, growth in the private sector is anticipated to be slower than public health expenditure over the forecast period, with spending expected to be evenly split by 2028.

Vietnam's government will continue to demonstrate a consistent commitment to health improvement through the implementation of long-term policies.

Healthcare is a priority under the latest five-year plan (2021-25), which aims for 95 percent universal health coverage by 2025, with new goals for 100 percent coverage by 2030 recently announced. 

A decision by the Ministry of Health issued in 2021 highlighted the government’s focus on improving the long-term health of Vietnam’s rapidly aging population. 

Major goals for the policy seek to promote healthy lifestyles through media campaigns to develop bespoke care systems for the elderly and promote the training and development of health workers caring for the elderly. 

The government approved a National Strategy for Protection, Care, and Improvement of People’s Health by 2030 with A Vision toward 2045 in January in a bid to improve access and quality of healthcare services through the development of human resources. 

The national vision is to develop a modern and equitable healthcare service that is internationally integrated and at the same level as advanced markets in the Asia-Pacific region by 2045.

Digital health remains a high growth area for Vietnam with innovation to be primarily driven by the private sector, according to the report.

The Ministry of Health sets out targets to digitize the healthcare sector from 2019 to 2025, including building a smart healthcare environment, introducing electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic payments, and strengthening the application of IT to medical facilities and health management. 

The implementation of smart hospitals is primarily occurring in the private sector where the number of smart clinics is growing. 

“Telemedicine schemes in Vietnam represent a high growth area. We expect the wider adoption of the technology in both underserved rural and urban areas to drive this growth,” reads the report.

Healthcare Law and Circular No. 30 set out 50 diseases and 20 specialties which are eligible for diagnosis and treatment via telemedicine. 

This circular provides clarity around the remit for telemedicine, promoting access to remote patient diagnosis and prescribing, monitoring and consultation, surgical care and cardiology services. 

The government also laid out plans to link telehealth and EHRs to generate a health data warehouse to aid in the management of personal health and the health sector.

This effort is meant to provide opportunities for both digital health companies as well as data management and data center providers, although these providers would need to consider the data privacy and security risks associated with collecting and storing healthcare data.

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Tieu Bac / Tuoi Tre News


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