Q) Examine the significance of the National Digital Heath Mission in overcoming the challenges faced by the Health sector in India. (250 Words)
- Source: The Indian Express - Page 12/The Editorial Page: A Click Away
- GS 2: Health
Introduction: The National Digital Health Mission(NHDM) was launched in 2021 for the deployment of digital tools for improving the efficiency and outcome of the healthcare system. The idea was mooted by the NITI Aayog as a National Health Stack (NHS) in 2019. It is a digital infrastructure built with the aim of making the healthcare system more transparent and robust for the smooth functioning of healthcare interventions like Ayushman Bharat.
Components of Program
- E - national health registry to serve as a single source of health data for the nation.
- Ayushman Bharat – Digital Mission, will now connect the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country with each other. Under this, every citizen will now get a digital health ID and their health record will be digitally protected.
- A coverage and claims platform for health protection schemes like Ayushman Bharat and to enable a robust system of fraud detection.
- A federated personal health records (PHR) framework.
- A national health analytics platform to use health information for evidence-based policy making.
- Other horizontal components- unique digital health ID, health data dictionaries and supply chain management for drugs, payment gateways, etc.
- Multiple access channels like call centre, Digital Health India portal and MyHealth App.
Significance of the Mission:
- Simplified hospital processes: The Mission will not only make the processes of hospitals simplified but also will increase ease of living.
- Transparency: NHS is digital infrastructure built with the aim of making the healthcare system more transparent and robust for the smooth functioning of healthcare interventions like Ayushman Bharat.
- Real Time Care: Engaging in real time with a care provider in an interactive format will likely encourage safe behaviours to a greater extent than if the same information is provided without interaction.
- Continuum of care: It would be Easier to maintain and access medical history of the patients. This would hugely improve doctors' ability to treat patients.
- Analysing spread of diseases: The Spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19 can be detected with data analytics
- Utilising shared appointments: Remote shared medical appointments essentially Patients get more time with their clinician.
- Learning: Health dictionaries and SMAs enable peer support and peer-to-peer learning.
- Creating Awareness: Testing and vaccine adoption is stymied by misinformation.
- Increasing accessibility: Providers can offer virtual group information sessions accessible via smartphone reaching potentially quite large audiences.
- Cooperative federalism: It can be India's first futuristic nationally shared digital healthcare infrastructure usable by both the Centre and states across public and private sectors.
- Universal health coverage: Government can know about the number of patients and their requirements.
- Futuristic: It will be India's first futuristic nationally shared digital healthcare infrastructure usable by both the Centre and states across public and private sectors.
Challenges and Limitations:
- Issues of Privacy: The digital records are private affairs. There would always be a risk of these records being leaked. It would require investment into data protection.
- Creating Standards & Regulations: to regulate, develop and deploy digital health across the continuum of care. Related to exchange of healthcare data, data privacy & patient security are given to enable interoperability.
- Creating an Institutional Framework: It would require a specialised organisation that can drive the implementation of the blueprint, and promote and facilitate the evolution of a national digital health ecosystem.
- Creating and maintaining database: It would require extra training efforts and employees to maintain such system in each of the hospitals.
- Investment into data centres: Directories of Providers, Professionals and Pa ra-medicals on the one hand and the citizenry on the other hand would need to be created. This would require huge investment.
- Managing Multiple access channels like call centre, Digital Health India portal and MyHealth App would be difficult.
- Legislation and Regulations on Data Management, with focus on Privacy and Security would be required.
- Physical distance in Online consultations: During consultations physical appearance of the patient is essential.
Conclusion: The Government envisions to create a National Digital Health Eco-system that supports Universal Health Coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely and safe manner. Ensuring the security, interoperability, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information. This has been based on the J. Satyanarayana committee has recently submitted its report named National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) to M/o Health.