Viet Duc University Hospital’s Director: Telehealth provides a platform in creating a flat world in the healthcare.
It is the first time in Vietnam Viet Duc University Hospital (VDUH) – Hanoi has organized an online surgical consultation through a laparoscopic surgery system with 3D technology, integrated into Viettel Telehealth system. What value does the new system bring to the first hospital in Vietnam to implement a tele-consultation? We have a talk with Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD., Director of VDUH.
Dear Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD., VDUH has been implementing a tele-medical consultation, advice and professional support to lower level hospitals through online platform since several years ago. This time, with Viettel Telehealth, what is the new feature in the tele-consultation of VDUH?
Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD.: About tele-consultation, VDUH is the first hospital to implement 15 years ago by The Project improving the capacity for satellite hospitals in order to reduce the overload of VDUH, which was approved by Ministry of Health (MoH) in 2004. At that time, we designed a project to connect VDUH with 6 hospitals in Red Delta River area, aiming to improve the medical competence of the provinces as well as the medical professionals of local physicians therefore the patients can access to the high quality services at their hometown.
The first case that we used tele-consultation was in 2006. From 2013 to 2019, nearly 600 times of a tele-diagnosis, a tele-technical transfer were conducted weekly at VDUH with 23 hospitals. Thanks to Viettel Telehealth, we improved the number of connection from 23 to more than 100 hospitals. There are some district hospitals, both a public or a private hospitals registered to join the satellite connection with VDUH.
Telemedicine commenced in the beginning of XX decade with the radio invention but nowadays, with the development of a scientific technology, a transmitted equipment, and a high technology medical equipment, the tele-consultation and tele-surgical instruction are conducted at a new level of high technology. Specifically today, through Telehealth, we observed a tele-surgical consultation between VDUH and Quang Ninh General Hospital by a 3D laparoscopic surgery system. It is one of the newest technologies which helps the doctor to see through imaging system like standing in the operation room.
As the first unit to bring the tele-consultation through the online platform into practice for 15 recent years, what are your comments about the support of the modern online platform into the healthcare’s development?
Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD.: The telemedicine is still called tele-consultation-treatment system. For surgery, it has tele-surgery consultation in particular. There are no more gaps between the remote areas and the leading professors, experts and top hospitals.
Thanks to tele-consultation system, it is the first time that many people in the remote areas, even in the mountainous regions can access the consultation, diagnosis and treatment plan instruction from the professors, experts that they have never known or just see them on a television. The decision of MoH to expand this system under the technology platform support of Viettel is absolutely right.
Does the newest Telehealth installed at VDUH have any differences, Professor?
Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD.: The most important difference in comparison with the previous period is the development of scientific technology. Before, for having the tele-surgical consultation, the information transmission system needed to be prepared by 2 weeks in advance. More than 100 IT technicians in many places at the both sides were deployed to ensure smooth transmission and operation. Nowadays, all steps are operating automatically with the wide bandwidth. 3D technology requires a large bandwidth, high technology but we still can make it.
In your opinion, what does Telehealth bring to the development of the healthcare system?
Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD.: At first, we only connected with 6 hospitals but it took a lot of times. And then the number increased and now it is more than 100 hospitals. This online consultation and treatment system brings a platform to create a flat world in the healthcare. Both the commune and district health centers can join the system for consultation with experts at a central level. Thus, we erased the geographic distance as well as the decentralized hospital levels, all are in a flat world.
You mentioned a lot about the advancement of scientific technology which helps the tele-surgical consultation for a big step forward. Can you explain more about it?
Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD.: For example today session, it is the first time we have a live stream of a tele-surgical consultation with the 3D technology system – the newest technology in the laparoscopic surgery. Specifically, this tele-surgical consultation is for a 60 year old patient diagnosed with a cholecystitis caused by gallstones/ unexplained biliary stenosis at Quang Ninh General Hospital.
I’ll talk more about the 3D laparoscopic surgery, it is a new trend in the laparoscopic surgery. The laparoscopic surgery system with the 3D technology brings the 3D image as a real, which helps to see all surgical corners more clearly, easy access, zoom the tiny blood vessels, concentrate the operation tools into the main target, thus limit the affect into the surrounding benign tissues.
In order to transmit the 3D image to the consultation center at VDUH, Viettel has to provide a big technical support, for example the wide band witch to ensure the quality of 3D image…
Access to the high technology as the 3D laparoscopic surgery helps a surgeon to work in 3 panel space, helps the surgical manipulation more precise, fast, efficient and reduces the operation time. About the training activities, the young doctors can rapidly understand and perform technique; Training time is reduced and some other advantages…
Beside the high technology transmission support in tele-surgical consultation, which advantage does Telehealth bring to the user, dear Sir?
Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD.: During the Covid epidemic, the advantage from tele-consultation is huge. We could not gather many people due to the high spreading risk. The doctors in provinces, who participated in the technical transfer programs, could not come to VDUH. All direct trainings were locked.
But at that time, we conduct all consultations, regular discussions about the difficult cases on every Friday and trainings to nurses on patient’s care, epidemic prevention technique on every Tuesday… All activities are conducted through online training system.
Another benefit is the online platform helps the healthcare system to erase the geographic distance, even with the world. VDUH has organized many conferences, workshops and surgical live sessions to share experiences with international colleagues, learned lessons, introduce to them about the competences of our physicians and was highly appreciated.
Thanks Prof. Tran Binh Giang PhD. for sharing us today!