Vietnam's first smart medical center commences operation in Saigon

By Le Phuong    February 12, 2020 | 03:00 am PT
Vietnam's first smart medical center commences operation in Saigon
Overload at a hospital in HCMC in January 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Le Phuong.
A smart medical operating center applying artificial intelligence, a first in Vietnam, launched in HCMC on Tuesday.

The pilot project will connect data collected from different medical departments, agencies, hospitals and clinics, conduct analysis and also collate public response.

Amid epidemics like the current coronavirus developing complications, the center would join with the city health department to warn citizens and devise a counter strategy.

The center will continually update information at 47 hospitals across the city, keeping track of their ability to receive or treat patients. It would also update the number of patients infected by the virus alongside suspected cases globally, keeping city health officials notified.

Tang Chi Thuong, deputy director of the health department, said officials could use the center to easily contact the new coronavirus infected patients and those suspected to carry the virus, as well as confer directly with frontline doctors.

Instead of having to travel to Cu Chi District on the outskirts where a field hospital has been set up to deal with new infections, health officials can easily observe activities there via camera and communicate directly with those in charge at the hospital.

Nguyen Tan Binh, director of the department, said during the pilot stage, the center would keep making improvements and adjustments before final evaluation. The department plans to bid for investors in September.

The center's target is to predict diseases and epidemics, connect medical experts in Vietnam with those living and working abroad, and improve medical service quality across the city by letting patients to choose services and doctors at home.

Attending the pilot launch, city party chief Nguyen Thien Nhan said the center forms part of Saigon’s plans to become a smart city.

With 13 million residents, including migrants, the city usually receives patients from other cities and provinces and needs to invest in human resources, infrastructure and make the best of information technology application to improve its healthcare services, Nhan said.

He said last year the city should develop and use artificial intelligence (AI) towards realizing its Industry 4.0 potentials by working with experts, relevant units and companies that have developed AI related projects.

Besides, Saigon should set up a board to develop and operate a master program for AI coordination and research. In 2017, the southern metropolis, Vietnam’s largest, started implementing a master plan to transform itself into a smart city by 2020.

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