Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

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    In Context

    • Recently, the Prime Minister launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. 

    About

    • Currently, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is being implemented in a pilot phase in six union territories.
    • Its nationwide roll-out coincides with the National Health Authority celebrating the third anniversary of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
      • National Health Authority, an attached office of MoHFW, will design, build, roll out and implement the NDHM.

    Background

    • The genesis of new digital health infrastructure in India came about in the National Health Policy (NHP), 2017 which proposed a new National Digital Health Authority and envisaged the creation of a digital health technology eco-system aimed at developing an integrated health information system.
    • Based on the NHP, 2017, NITI Aayog proposed a visionary digital framework – National health stack (NHS) in 2018.
    • In July 2019 the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) of the mission was prepared by a panel of MoHFW to create a framework for the NHS.
    • On August 15, 2020, Prime Minister had announced the pilot project of the National Digital Health Mission.

    National Digital Health Mission

    • About:
      • It is based on the foundations laid down in the form of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile (JAM) trinity and other digital initiatives of the government.
    • Key components of the project:
      • Digital health ID:  A repository of all health-related information of a person, such as medical tests, previous prescriptions, diagnosis, treatments etc. It can be created voluntarily, free of cost by every Indian citizen.
      • Health Facility Registry (HFR): A single repository of all the health facilities (both public and private) in the country.
      • Personal Health Records (PHR):  An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be drawn from multiple sources.
      • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission Sandbox:  This will act as a framework for technology and product testing that will help organisations, including private players, intending to be a part of the National Digital Health Ecosystem become a health information provider or a health information user.  
      • Implementing agency: National Health Authority (NHA)

    Potential/ Benefits of this mission

    • It will ensure ease of doing business for doctors & hospitals and healthcare service providers.
    • It will also provide a holistic and inclusive health model and, easy, affordable and accessible treatment.
    • It will create interoperability within the digital health ecosystem, similar to the role played by the Unified Payments Interface in revolutionizing payments i.e. Citizens will only be a click away from accessing healthcare facilities.
    • Enable access and exchange of longitudinal health records of citizens with their consent.
    • Effective implementation of schemes and policies of the government.
    • Boost to Medical tourism.

    Limitations/Concerns

    • Digital Divide: This could lead to exclusion of digitally illiterate and unconnected remote, hilly and tribal areas. 
    • Data Breach/Privacy issues: The lack of a data protection bill could lead to the misuse of data by private firms.
    • Huge requirement of skilled labours: Need for skilled manpower in the digital domain that verse with latest computer skills.
    • Inadequate Primary Health Care data: Lack of infrastructure and staff at primary level.
    • Issue of interoperability of systems built by different states & the central repositories.

    Way Forward

    • Data protection measures will have to be robust to preserve personal information.
    • It should be made transparent and easy to understand for the public.

    Source: IE