Emergence of telemedicine during COVID-19 pandemic: drawing upon an underrated modality in Vietnam


In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. In Vietnam, the incidence rate started climbing in May 2021, reaching an all-time high of 9,000 cases per day, and is projected to increase even further. Direct patient contact, as has always been the case in conventional medical practice, now constitutes significant transmission risk during the height of COVID-19. Healthcare workers, while accounting for a minor proportion of the population, are two to three times more likely to contract COVID-19, especially those who provide outpatient care or home-based service. The pandemic has led to a significant increase in the adoption of telemedicine, as hospitals are overwhelmed with critically ill patients, demand for healthcare soars, and transmission risk remains serious. With appropriate attention and further advancement of Vietnam's telehealth infrastructure, telemedicine will become an indispensable weapon to combat COVID-19 and an important modality of medical care during and after the pandemic. 

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