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HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health is drafting a circular on a pilot programme for electronic medical records in a bid to save time and money for both doctors and patients

The draft circular is expected to be issued this year and take effect at the beginning of next year.

The draft is now available on the government portal and Ministry of Health’s websites at and, where the Ministry is seeking to collect public opinion.

The electronic medical records (EMR) system has been piloted at several hospitals including the National Children’s Hospital and the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Hà Tĩnh General Hospital. It would be applied at all health care facilities across the country by 2020.

Under the draft circular, the electronic medical records (EMR) are a digitalised version of the old paper records and they have the same function as described in the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment.

Each citizen has an electronic medical record which will be monitored and stored for a lifetime.

A doctor who wished to be anonymous said the implementation of the EMR system will bring about a lot of advantages. The system helps improve diagnosis and treatment, he told Lao Động (Labour) newspaper.

Electronic medical health records and information sharing within a medical practice naturally reduce handwriting errors, he said, adding that the bad handwriting of many doctors is causing trouble for people who wanted to read records.

He also said that the problem of lost or misplaced patient files will also be eliminated with the introduction of the new system.

The draft circular stipulated that the EMRs should meet a number of requests, including compliance with regulations of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Information and Communications.

The EMR system must control users’ access to particular patient information while ensuring the patients’ privacy, it said.

In accordance with the draft circular, the personal health records will be set up based on codes issued by Vietnam Social Security.

It is necessary to adopt preventive measures to stop illegal access to electronic medical records and recover them in case errors occur.

While some believe that the application of the EMR system will help produce a marked increase in the health and welfare of patients, others are still concerned about the privacy of patients and their medical records.

Nguyễn Danh Huế from Hà Nội Bar Association told the newspaper that protecting the privacy of patients was the responsibility of hospitals.

Thus, he said, hospitals should take measures to ensure that patients’ information was preserved.

 “As we are entering the fourth industrial revolution, people have less privacy and fewer secrets. It happens not only in Việt Nam but in other countries as well,” he said.

Because an individual’s phone number is recorded in many places and at many moments, it is very difficult to track down when the personal information was revealed, if it is used inappropriately.

Huế urged state agencies to avoid copying information as the protection of information depends on humans, no matter what the information collection and storage process entails.

“It is not easy to prevent hackers but we could put an end to information leaking by taking sound measures,” he said

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