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Lessons for Vietnam on the Use of Digital Technologies to Support Patient-Centered Care in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in the Asia-Pacific Region: Scoping Review

HumanInsight Lessons for Vietnam on the Use of Digital Technologies to Support Patient-Centered Care in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in the Asia-Pacific Region: Scoping Review

J Med Internet Res. 2023 Apr 5;25:e43224. doi: 10.2196/43224.


BACKGROUND: A rapidly aging population, a shifting disease burden and the ongoing threat of infectious disease outbreaks pose major concerns for Vietnam's health care system. Health disparities are evident in many parts of the country, especially in rural areas, and the population faces inequitable access to patient-centered health care. Vietnam must therefore explore and implement advanced solutions to the provision of patient-centered care, with a view to reducing pressures on the health care system simultaneously. The use of digital health technologies (DHTs) may be one of these solutions.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to identify the application of DHTs to support the provision of patient-centered care in low- and middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region (APR) and to draw lessons for Vietnam.

METHODS: A scoping review was undertaken. Systematic searches of 7 databases were conducted in January 2022 to identify publications on DHTs and patient-centered care in the APR. Thematic analysis was conducted, and DHTs were classified using the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence evidence standards framework for DHTs (tiers A, B, and C). Reporting was in line with the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) guidelines.

RESULTS: Of the 264 publications identified, 45 (17%) met the inclusion criteria. The majority of the DHTs were classified as tier C (15/33, 45%), followed by tier B (14/33, 42%) and tier A (4/33, 12%). At an individual level, DHTs increased accessibility of health care and health-related information, supported individuals in self-management, and led to improvements in clinical and quality-of-life outcomes. At a systems level, DHTs supported patient-centered outcomes by increasing efficiency, reducing strain on health care resources, and supporting patient-centered clinical practice. The most frequently reported enablers for the use of DHTs for patient-centered care included alignment of DHTs with users' individual needs, ease of use, availability of direct support from health care professionals, provision of technical support as well as user education and training, appropriate governance of privacy and security, and cross-sectorial collaboration. Common barriers included low user literacy and digital literacy, limited user access to DHT infrastructure, and a lack of policies and protocols to guide the implementation and use of DHTs.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of DHTs is a viable option to increase equitable access to quality, patient-centered care across Vietnam and simultaneously reduce pressures on the health care system. Vietnam can take advantage of the lessons learned by other low- and middle-income countries in the APR when developing a national road map to digital health transformation. Recommendations that Vietnamese policy makers may consider include emphasizing stakeholder engagement, strengthening digital literacy, supporting the improvement of DHT infrastructure, increasing cross-sectorial collaboration, strengthening governance of cybersecurity, and leading the way in DHT uptake.

PMID:37018013 | DOI:10.2196/43224

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