The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has introduced the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) intending to provide the required support for integration of digital health infrastructure across the country. This visionary initiative, inspired by the National Health Policy, 2017 intends to digitize healthcare in India.
The NDHM has been designed, developed, deployed, and managed by the Government.
The vision is to create a national digital health ecosystem that supports universal health coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, and safe manner and an online platform that ensures the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.
It is important to strengthen the process of identification and verification of an individual across healthcare providers. Health ID will be used to uniquely identify persons, authenticate them.
Health ID is created by using basic details, mobile number or Aadhaar number. Health ID can be obtained with the support of a healthcare provider who is in the national health infrastructure registry or it can be obtained by self-registration from a mobile or a web application.
Health Facility Registry (HFR):
It is a repository of health facilities of the country across different systems of medicine. It includes both public and private health facilities including hospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories and imaging centres, pharmacies, etc.
Personal Health Records (PHR):
PHR is an electronic record of health-related information of an individual that confirms nationally recognized interoperability standards.
Electronic Medical Records:
EMR is a digital version of a patient’s treatment history. The health information is recorded and is stored locally at the facility where the patient was registered or admitted.
The strong public digital infrastructure offers opportunities to streamline healthcare information with their digital management.
Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), blockchain and cloud computing provide amazing opportunities for contributing to a digital health ecosystem, which can increase equitable access to health services, improve health outcomes and also reduce costs.
- It improves the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health service delivery overall. Also, Patients will be able to securely store and access their medical records
- Patients will have the option to access health services remotely through teleconsultation and e-pharmacy applications.
- NDHM will provide choices to individuals to access both public and private health services.
- The integrated ecosystem will also enable a better continuum of care. NDHM will help digitize the claims process and enable faster reimbursement.
- Some policy-makers and programme managers will get better access to data, enabling more informed decision making by the Government.
- Also, researchers will greatly be benefited as they will be able to study and evaluate the effectiveness of various programmes and interventions. NDHM will maintain a feedback loop between researchers, policymakers, and providers.
By launching a comprehensive, nationwide integrated digital health ecosystem, NDHM will contribute significantly to achieving the goals of National Health Policy 2017 and the SDGs related to health. NDHM will begin a new beginning for the Indian digital healthcare ecosystem, which have more effective delivery of healthcare services and moving towards health to all.