Narendra Modi launches National Digital Health Mission; all you need to know about new health ID

The health ID will contain information about medical data, prescriptions and diagnostic reports and summaries of previous discharge from hospitals for ailments

FP Staff August 17, 2020 11:53:06 IST
Narendra Modi launches National Digital Health Mission; all you need to know about new health ID

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a national health ID for every Indian while addressing the nation on the occasion of 74th Independence Day, is envisioned as India's first step towards Universal Health Coverage.

The ambitious National Digital Health Mission unveiled on 15 August, finds its roots in a 2018 Niti Aayog proposal to create a centralised mechanism to uniquely identify every participating user in the National Health Stack, according to The Indian Express.

In his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the prime minister said the health ID will store every individual's medical records and the Mission will herald a new revolution in the health sector.

"From today, a major campaign is being launched in which technology will play a big role. The National Digital Health Mission is being launched today. This will bring a new revolution in India's health sector and it will help reduce problems in getting treatment with the help of technology," he said on Saturday.

"Every Indian will be given a health ID, which will work as each Indian's health account," Modi said, adding that it would ease problems faced by citizens in getting healthcare access.

The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), which comes under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), is expected to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health services in the country, the government has said.

What is the National Digital Health Mission?

The National Digital Health Mission is a digital health ecosystem under which every Indian citizen will now have unique health IDs, digitised health records with identifiers for doctors and health facilities. The Mission is expected to bring efficiency and transparency in healthcare services in the country.

What is a Health ID?

As per the National Health Authority (NHA), every patient who wishes to have their health records available digitally must start by creating a unique Health ID.

The health ID will contain information about medical data, prescriptions and diagnostic reports, and summaries of previous discharge from hospitals for ailments.

According to The Indian Express report, each Health ID will be linked to a health data consent manager — such as National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) — which will be used to seek the patient’s consent and allow for seamless flow of health information from the Personal Health Records module.

This ID is to be created by using a person’s basic details and mobile number or Aadhaar number.

"It will be like a digitised “swasth khata” (health book) for a patient and will contain details of their medical history, physicians consulted, tests done etc," the prime minister said.

The health ID will reportedly be in the form of a mobile application.

The Print.in reports that the health ID will not be mandatory, although the government hopes that the feature will attract more users to it since it allows a person online access to all their health records right from birth.

Where will the Health ID be applicable?

According to The Quint, the ID will reportedly be applicable across states, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and pharmacies.

The government has also assured that the data provided will be protected and health records will only be shared after authorisation by an individual.

According to its strategy document, the NDHM will pilot the mission in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Ladakh, and Puducherry.

Privacy of data

The NDHM's document also states that health records will be accessible and shareable by the patient with appropriate consent and complete control of the records will remain with the patient.

The mission will also require doctors/hospitals to upload a digital copy of any health reports being physically shared with the patient to enable the creation of health records.

“An appropriate digital consent framework as per standards specified by NDHB (leveraging DigiLocker consent management framework to the extent possible) will be adopted for consent management,” the document further outlines.

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