With the Modi government's thrust on a digital India, the union health ministry is trying to devise interactive web portals and mobile apps for most of its flagship programs like immunization drives and mother and child care.
Officials in the health ministry said union Health Minister J.P. Nadda has asked for the digitization of almost all services being provided by the government in the sector.
The ministry has set up a web portal in pursuance to the decisions of the National Knowledge Commission to provide healthcare related information to the citizens of India and serve as a single point of access for consolidated health information.
The National Health Portal (www.nhp.gov.in) was launched by Nadda in Shimla last week.
A special Centre for Health Informatics has been established by the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW) for managing the activities of the portal, Rakesh Kumar, joint secretary in the health ministry, said.
"The portal aims to make this a single point access for authenticated health information for citizens, students, healthcare professionals and researchers," Kumar said.
It will collect, verify and disseminate health and health care delivery services related information for all citizens of India.
Listing other such initiatives, Kumar said nearly 50 percent of the 565 Special Newborn Care Units (SNCU) established across the country have been brought on an online platform.
"Our aim is to make 100 percent of these special units covered in the online system," he said.
The ministry has also launched a mobile application for its mass immunization drive which is called 'Mission Indradhanush'.
"Under this, field workers would be required to fill up all details of vaccinations of children, who have been covered or are yet to be covered. Managers would then pass on the information to the state governments which will in turn pass on the information to the central government," he said.
Apart from this, the government will soon begin a service which would inform citizens about due vaccinations and check-ups of newborns and pregnant women.
A simple mobile phone text message would tell a parent that their children are due for vaccinations or even remind an expecting mother that she has completed six months of her pregnancy and needs to go for a scheduled check-up.
All this would be a part of the health ministry's new 'Kilkari' scheme on mother and childcare in August.
For pregnant women, messages would include reminders about routine check-ups, blood tests, tetanus vaccinations and a host of other things. The government also plans to expand the scheme to include adolescent girls in the future.
In the beginning, messages would be sent in six languages -- four north Indian and two south Indian. Later, more languages can be added as the program expands.
A total of 78 specific messages have been identified as of now and more will be added.
All stakeholders -- like doctors, midwives, state health officials and service providers -- are in the loop and technical issues are being worked out.
Kumar said the ministry was also planning to go online with the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK).
The RBSK aims at early identification and intervention for children from birth to 18 years to cover four 'D's -- defects at birth, deficiencies, diseases, development delays, including disability.
"All information relating to this initiative will also be available online soon for better tracking," the official added.