Making local healthcare ‘future-ready’

08:00 | 18/12/2017
US’ GE Healthcare has joined forces with Vinmec Healthcare system under Vingroup to advance Vietnam’s healthcare standards. Van Mai reports.

A deeper dive into healthcare

The Vietnamese healthcare sector continues to develop at a robust rate as local patients increase their spending on health services. According to a “Vietnam Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report” by BMI Research, Vietnamese people’s expenditures on healthcare has posted an estimated 7 per cent jump from $15 billion in 2016 to $16 billion in 2017.

The rising spending power of local patients, coupled with rapid urbanisation, is stimulating demand for quality healthcare in Vietnam. However, overcrowding in public hospitals is expected to intensify, resulting in long wait times and a shortage of beds.

To provide Vietnamese patients better access to advanced care and treatment, Vingroup, one of the largest private conglomerates in Vietnam, launched its not-for-profit healthcare arm Vinmec Healthcare System in January 2012. The move is part of the group’s broader strategy to build a complete ecosystem for Vietnamese people, including property, hospitality, entertainment, retail, education, and healthcare.

After six years of operation, Vingroup’s healthcare division has been steadily growing. Vinmec currently owns and operates seven hospitals across the country and expects to increase its presence to 10 hospitals by 2020. Vinmec is the first private healthcare system in Vietnam with two hospitals holding JCI accreditation, the world’s leading accreditation on hospital management and patient safety.

Moving forward, Vinmec singed a comprehensive strategic partnership with GE Healthcare last week to improve patient care in Vietnam. By coupling Vinmec’s growing business with GE Healthcare’s expertise in transformational medical technologies and services, the two hope to stimulate and drive the Vietnamese healthcare sector.

The GE Healthcare–Vinmec collaboration is set to bring world-class healthcare to Vietnam

Driving Vinmec’s vision to the next level

Harnessing data and analytics across hardware, software, and biotech, GE Healthcare is the $18 billion healthcare business of General Electric. As a leading provider of medical imaging equipment, with a track record of over a century in the industry and more than 50,000 employees across 100 countries, GE Healthcare transforms healthcare by delivering better outcomes for providers and patients all over the world.

As Vinmec attempts to be Vietnam’s leading healthcare system in both quality and technology, GE Healthcare is an ideal partner to support its growth plans, including Vinmec’s upcoming university, Vinmec University of Health Sciences (VUHS).

Indeed, GE Healthcare and Vinmec are strategic partners with a long-standing history of collaboration in technology and capacity development. Since 2015, GE Healthcare has worked with Vinmec to drive clinical excellence at Vinmec hospitals by introducing the latest technology innovations and solutions.

The comprehensive strategic partnership between GE and Vinmec aims to promote science and technology application, optimising hospital infrastructure, and improving the country’s healthcare capacity tied to international best practices. The first hospital design project they will work on is the 1,200-bed VUHS, which is slated to commence construction in 2018 and be put into operation in 2019.

“Vinmec is one of the leading healthcare organisations in Vietnam in terms of scale, infrastructure, as well as modern equipment,” said Terri Bresenham, president and CEO of GE Healthcare in South Asia, Africa, and Southeast Asia. “We have a long history of collaboration with Vinmec and we are proud to continue to be Vinmec’s strategic partner for its future development and with a specific regard to the development plans for VUHS.”

Vinmec’s vision is to develop hospital chains, research institutes, and medical universities

Forming linkages to improve healthcare standards

Vinmec’s vision is to develop an internationally-compliant healthcare system in Vietnam which centres on three core services: hospital chains, research institutes, and medical universities. Leveraging GE Healthcare’s strong capabilities in the healthcare space, Vinmec would achieve international standards of care through technology, human resources capacity, and hospital operations.

Under the plan, GE Healthcare is committed to continuously providing innovative medical equipment for imaging, nuclear medicine, ultrasound systems, and anesthesia solutions to help Vinmec promote and optimise healthcare outcomes.

According to Bresenham, GE Healthcare invests $1.2 billion in research-and-development activities each year. GE Healthcare will continue to offer Vinmec world-class medical equipment, innovative technologies, and solutions to drive the best clinical outcomes.

“In addition, GE also strongly believes that the best healthcare outcomes do not rest on the best technology alone. Education, training, hospital design, and research are all factors that ensure that patients receive quality care,” Bresenham said.

With regards to capacity-building programmes, the two parties will focus on cardiology and oncology, creating a solid foundation for Vinmec to lead in these key areas. Accordingly, GE Healthcare will play a significant role in nurturing a new generation of clinicians at VUHS, helping the university to become the standard for medical education in Vietnam.

Leveraging the insights of global experts from centres in countries like the UAE and the US in hospital design and planning, GE Healthcare will offer Vinmec innovative and customised solutions for layout design and facility arrangement, to promote operational optimisation, patient safety, and patient comfort according to international best practices.

Bresenham noted that the partnership will enable the two corporations to work on one of GE’s largest-scale hospital planning projects in Southeast Asia. Through this partnership, the two sides will be sharing best practices from GE Healthcare’s global network on hospital design and technology planning that will contribute to Vinmec building a modern and future-ready hospital.

Bringing enormous benefits to local patients

According to Professor Bui Duc Phu, Vinmec’s deputy director, the partnership between Vinmec and GE Healthcare will bring real benefits for local patients. First, they can receive better treatment in new, modern, and safe hospitals. GE Healthcare, with extensive experience in hospital design and operation, will help Vinmec create a patient-centric healthcare environment to deliver the best possible experience, quality, and outcomes for Vietnamese patients.

In addition, patients can have convenient access to a wide range of revolutionary healthcare technologies from GE Healthcare, which are also the first-of-their-kind in Vietnam. So far, Vinmec hospitals have been equipped with GE Healthcare’s cutting-edge technologies like 3D mammography, silent MRI systems, advanced anaesthesia, and ventilation systems, as well as other state-of-the-art machines.

Professor Phu said that breakthrough medical technology could save the lives of thousands of patients.

“By teaming up with GE Healthcare, we can step up the use of technology and science to deliver medical excellence for our patients,” he said.

Above all, a team of highly-skilled healthcare professionals is crucial to provide quality care and meet the sophisticated needs of patients. To this end, the partnership between Vinmec and GE Healthcare will play a role in growing Vietnam’s next generation of clinicians and establishing VUHS as the standard for medical education in Vietnam. Graduates with international healthcare best practices will go on to impact the communities and the country.

GE Healthcare on a mission to innovate Vietnam’s healthcare
GE Healthcare on a mission to innovate Vietnam’s healthcare

On the occasion of signing a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam’s privately-run Vinmec Healthcare System, Terri Bresenham, president and CEO of GE Healthcare in South Asia, Africa, and Southeast Asia, talked with VIR’s Ngoc Mai about the current challenges of the Vietnamese healthcare system and discussed solutions and technological innovations as part of the firm’s business strategy to create an impact on the heathcare sector in the country.

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