Vietnam has developed an electronic surveillance system for recording and accessing information about TB patients and TB treatment results. The system, named Vietnam TB Information Management Electronic (VITIMES), was developed with technical support from Vietnamese Information Technology (IT) companies and KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation.
For years the national TB control program (NTP) had worked with a paper-based TB surveillance system, but in 2000 the NTP decided to develop an electronic surveillance system. An electronic system has the advantage of enabling quicker and easier input and access to patient and program information, thus supporting health workers in their work and improving patient care.
The TB program is the only infectious disease control program in Vietnam with an electronic surveillance system, and serves as a model for other programs.
Moving from a paper-based to an electronic surveillance system cannot be done overnight. The development and implementation is coordinated with the IT company and the users at the national, provincial and district levels.
VITIMES has been rolled out systematically, beginning at provincial level, followed by the district level. By 2014 all 63 provinces were using VITIMES, by 2015 300 districts in 17 provinces were using the system, and in 2016 all districts across the country were using VITIMES. Feedback from the district users is frequently being monitored and will be used to further improve the system.
The NTP requested KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation to provide overall international technical assistance. The collaboration between the NTP, the IT Company and the international KNCV consultant has been productive, with good teamwork.
As Nam, the IT officer from the Data Management Unit said, “International technical assistance brings in ideas from other countries and oversees the whole process. This gives us the confidence that we are on the right track”.
Read more in the TB CARE I report: Supporting Local Ownership of TB Control Initiatives.