National Digital Health Mission
1Introduction
  • The Make in India initiative has not only empowered manufacturing in India but has also given a boost to strong and reliable digital infrastructure developed indigenously for the benefit of citizens. With an aim to create an ecosystem for providing better healthcare services in the country, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi announced the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) on 15th August 2020, the 74th Independence Day of India.
  • The current digital infrastructure of the country that identifies and connects people while simplifying their day-to-day life through digital means includes Aadhaar Unique Identity (UID), JAM trinity (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) and Unified Payments Interface (UPI). This strong digital infrastructure base acts as launcher for NDHM to further develop and enhance healthcare in the country through digital management.
  • The primary institutions responsible for governing and implementing the mission include Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National Health Authority (NHA).

 

Sources: 1, 2

2About NDHM
  • NDHM aims to make India Atmanirbhar or Self-reliant in providing universal health coverage to all the citizens in the country. It aligns with the goals and objectives of the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 and the National Digital Health Blueprint to create a digital infrastructure for providing healthcare services across the country.
  • NDHM envisions a national digital health ecosystem in India which supports universal health coverage that is:
    • Efficient
    • Accessible
    • Inclusive
    • Affordable
    • Timely
    • Safe 
  • This digital infrastructure would consist of large amounts of health-related data and various standardised digital services while ensuring strict  confidentiality and security of personal information of the public.

 

Sources: 1, 2

3Salient Features of NDHM: Digital Systems
  • NDHM will implement the following digital systems across the country:
    • Health ID: Implementation of a Unique Health ID (UHID) just like an Aadhaar ID to identify and authenticate an individual based on past health records. To create a wide network of health records, the data will also be shared with various stakeholders after getting an informed consent from the individual.

    • Digi Doctor: A repository of doctors with individual details like name, institution, qualification, specialization and years of experience among other necessary details. The directory of doctors will be updated from time to time and mapped with the facilities those doctors are associated with.

    • Health Facility Register (HFR): A repository of Health Facilities across the country. HFR will be centrally maintained and facilitate standardised data exchange of private and public health facilities in India. Health facilities will also be allowed to update their profiles periodically.

    • Personal Health Records (PHR): A PHR is an electronic record of an individual which would contain health-related information of that individual. The data contained in PHR could be drawn from multiple sources and will be managed and controlled by the individual, who can update/ edit information.

    • Electronic Medical Records (EMR): An app that contains medical and treatment history of a patient. EMR is envisaged to be a web-based system that would contain comprehensive health related information of a patient at a facility. This would help clinicians track their patients, monitor their health and suggest preventive check-ups and screenings.

 

 Source: 1

4Boost to Digital Infrastructure
  • Initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan and Make in India have promoted domestic manufacturing in the country. This has in turn paved way for a larger offering of digital services in the country.
  • Some prominent examples of digital initiatives are:
  • The NDHM will further boost the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India.