National Digital Health Mission

News: Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting to review the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM).

About National Digital Health Mission:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Digital Health Mission on 15th August 2020. The mission aims to create an integrated healthcare system linking practitioners with the patients digitally by giving them access to real-time health records. This will promote prompt and structured healthcare across the country.

Components of National Digital Health Mission

  • There are four components:
  • National Health Electronic Registries
  • A Federated Personal Health Records (PHR) Framework – It will fight twin challenges of Access to healthcare reports/data by the patients and the healthcare provider for treatment
  • Making the data available for medical research
  • A National Health Analytics Platform
  • Other Horizontal Components like:
  • Unique Digital Health ID,
  • Health Data Dictionaries
  • Supply Chain Management for Drugs,
  • Payment gateways

Salient Features:

  • The institutional framework of the mission runs at different levels starting from the apex level, followed by the board of directors, CEO, and operations. It is an IT-enabled healthcare infrastructure system
  • Health ID – It will be a repository of all health-related information. Every participating stakeholder including healthcare providers and Indian citizens will be part of this health ID system on a voluntary basis. A unique health ID will be created by every citizen interested to access the benefits of this mission.
  • Health data consent managers will be linked with unique health IDs of the patients; who will aid the seamless exchange of the health records between the patient and the doctors.
  • The healthcare services will be provided through a mobile app or through an official website.
  • Digi Doctor – He/she will be the one who will be responsible for providing healthcare services across the country. An interested healthcare professional can act as a digital doctor to provide prescriptions to patients sitting in a different location altogether. He/she will be assigned free digital signatures which can be used to prescribe medicines.

Significance:

  • Citizens can access their health records within 5 clicks.
  • Unlike going for diagnostic tests multiple times with each visit to doctors, through this mission a citizen will have to undergo a diagnostic test only once and can follow up treatments from different healthcare providers. All healthcare services are provided at a single point.
  • Continuum of care is assured at primary, secondary, and tertiary care.

Challenges:

  • It is a challenge to secure the health data of the citizens along with other personal information to avoid a breach of the right to privacy.
  • Technological advancement and high security are needed to avoid any leakage of the data.
  • Profiteering
  • Foreign surveillance