Digital Health Solutions
PATH has global expertise in using technology to find innovative solutions to health challenges and is applying this expertise in the increasingly digitized Vietnam. Health sector leaders are interested in finding ways to increase efficiency and quality of services using technology, and the population is becoming increasingly technologically literate. Over half of the population are internet users, mobile subscription rates equate to almost one and one-half subscriptions per person, and almost 35 million people in Vietnam now use Facebook.
PATH has developed and deployed innovative digital health solutions into the majority of our projects in Vietnam to find the best way to support health workers, communities, families, and individuals to provide and access quality health services and make healthy choices. This helps to ensure that our interventions are ahead of the curve and can keep pace with the constant changes seen in the country.
Some of PATH’s current initiatives include:
- The Global Health Security Partnership has supported the development of a centralized data collection system and data visualization platform that will help leaders make rapid and strategic decisions and reduce the impact of outbreaks.
- The Digital Immunization Registry (ImmReg) project has demonstrated that a tailored electronic records system can enable faster and more efficient management of individual immunization records and vaccine delivery. Using unique software designed by PATH, health workers can now generate lists of people due for vaccinations with a web-based application that is accessible on Commune Health Center–based computers and smartphones and that automatically send SMS text vaccination reminders to clients’ mobile phones.
- The Healthy Markets project is maximizing the potential of social media for generating behavior change by developing a Facebook community which both raises awareness about healthy practices for preventing and managing HIV among young men who have sex with men (MSM) and connects users to offline HIV services. “Xóm Cầu Vồng” (Rainbow Village) was launched in October 2015 and grew a network of 150,000 followers in just one year. Interactive and fun content is posted and cross-posted with celebrities and other opinion leaders, while Online Change Agents, a team of trained individuals, connect directly with Facebook users to provide counseling on a range of HIV-related issues and refer people for community-based HIV testing services.
- Breath for Life is tackling the ongoing concern of pediatric tuberculosis (TB) in Vietnam, which is more difficult to diagnose than in adults. Diagnosis and treatment for TB is concentrated at provincial-level facilities—meaning that families that live in remote areas often find it difficult to access these services. The project has supported the introduction of an online consultation system, which enables district-level facilities to seek consultation and advice from provincial facilities. The ECHO/Zoom software enables real-time consultation at a distance and facilitates the coordination of treatment between clinicians at the district and provincial levels, reducing the need for patients to travel for diagnosis and treatment.
- Communities for Healthy Hearts is working to improve case management of hypertension at the community level by developing a patient tracking software program which stores comprehensive information and indicators related to clients and hypertension patients, such as demographic information, logs of their hypertension screening, and details of their referrals, diagnosis and treatment. The project also employs an mHealth component, whereby those at risk of or receiving treatment for hypertension receive SMS text messages to their mobile phone, which promotes hypertension screening, adherence to treatment, and healthy lifestyle choices.
- Our previous work on TB piloted a digital and mHealth system to support treatment adherence – increasingly important in the face of multidrug-resistance. This pilot system is now being been scaled up nationwide by the Vietnam Ministry of Health, using their own resources.