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National Digital Health Mission Launched by PM Narendra Modi

National Digital Health Mission Launched by PM Narendra Modi

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Highlights :
  • National Digital Health Mission launched by PM Narendra Modi on 74th Independence Day
  • Health records, reports will be digitized across the states
  • Guidelines for 30 common treatments to ensure a minimum standard of care
  • Every citizen of India will have a unique health ID which will be used to access the digital records in a common platform through an app

PM Narendra Modi announced the government's National Digital Health Mission while addressing the nation on the 74th Independence Day.

National Digital Health Mission

PM Modi plans to digitize personal medical records and connect diagnostic centers, medical institutions, and state medical records.

National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) will provide a villager living in a remote rural location easy access and appointment to the nearest district hospital. It will also verify all doctors in the country.

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National Digital Health Mission Launched by PM Narendra Modi

There would be a standardized treatment of the poor under the Ayushman Bharat or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). This would ensure better care for the poor in private hospitals.

Guidelines for Treatments

There are currently no guidelines for a minimum hospital stay, the line of treatment, preferred pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments for health problems.

The National Health Authority (NHA) would issue guidelines for standard treatments that would ensure a minimum standard of care.

These guidelines would help prevent fraud by private hospitals and prevent the misuse of medicines and encourage economically efficient medicines.

The NHA is planning to issue guidelines for about 30 treatments. The guidelines will be released in a phased manner.

Around 10 of these treatments were released on August 15th. The treatments included: "This would bring transparency to the system. There have been cases where private hospitals have charged for additional days of hospital stay, but the patient has been discharged early, or they have billed for more expensive medicines which were not necessary. This would be curbed, and the patient would get better treatment," said a senior NHA official.

National Health ID

  • Every Indian citizen will have a unique Health ID. The enrollment of an individual is voluntary.
  • The health ID will contain details about a person's diseases, diagnoses, medication, reports and other medical details. The information can be accessed in a common database by using the Health ID.
  • The health ID will be created by using a person's basic details and mobile number or Aadhaar number.
  • The digital database will also be linked to a registry of doctors and health facilities in India.
  • The PM plans to make the health ID available in the form of a mobile app.
  • Health records and other data will be shared only on authorization by the individual.
  • It is also voluntary for doctors and hospitals to provide their details.
In summary, the National Digital Health Mission aims to make healthcare standardized and easily accessible using the health ID.

Commentary by Dr.Sunil Shroff - Editor, Medindia

The announcement is a huge step forward towards the goal of providing access to quality healthcare, which is affordable to all and thus working towards 'Health for All.' However, the challenges that lie ahead are daunting and the objectives will take years to achieve.

A few immediate problems that can be foreseen are as follows:
  1. If the health ID is made available in the form of a mobile app - would mean every citizen of the country carrying a smartphone. However, of the 600 mobile phonesin India, only 400 million are perhaps smart phones. This means we cover only 25% of the population.
  2. The national or state records of the doctors are not available in a digitized format for cross-checking and this itself will take years to put it in place.
  3. Data protection is of importance and the 'Data Protection Act' requires to be passed by both the houses of the parliament
  4. To give teeth to it the e-prescription and pharmacies will require their own legislation
Overall there needs to be a lot of coordination and cooperation between different ministries both at the central and state levels to achieve these laudable objectives laid out by the prime-minster. Overall, it is stepping in the right direction.

References :
  1. PM Modi launches National Digital Health Mission, every Indian to get health ID - (https://11xi.in/pm-modi-launches-national-digital-health-mission-every-indian-to-get-health-id)
  2. What is National Digital Health Mission? How Will Health ID Work? - (https://www.thequint.com/news/politics/pm-modi-announces-national-health-mission-what-is-it)
  3. Narendra Modi launches National Digital Health Mission; all you need to know about new health ID - (https://www.firstpost.com/health/narendra-modi-launches-national-digital-health-mission-all-you-need-to-know-about-new-health-id-8718681.html)

Source: Medindia

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