Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission on Monday while citing it has the “potential of bringing a revolutionary change in India’s healthcare facilities”. The digital platform will ensure that every citizen's health records are stored safely on it, efficiently making the need of storing old health records redundant.
This Mission aims to create a seamless online platform to enable information-sharing within the digital health ecosystem. This is achieved by giving every citizen a unique ID and a digital healthcare professionals and facilities registry. The pilot project of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission was announced by PM Modi at the Red Fort on August 15, 2020. Digitisation of healthcare was on the Modi government's agenda for years now and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the process, giving birth to the Aarogya Setu app and the CoWin platform.
Prime Minister's Office
Components of the Digital Mission
Created with the use of either Aadhaar or mobile number, the health id can be used to access one’s health records digitally.The health id will allow a person to receive their lab reports, prescriptions and diagnosis digitally from verified doctors and health service providers.
Health Facility Registry
A comprehensive repository of all the health facilities, including both public and private.
An electronic application through which patients can maintain and manage their health information in a private, secure, and confidential environment.
Healthcare Professionals Registry
A comprehensive repository of all healthcare professionals involved in the delivery of healthcare services across both modern and traditional systems of medicine.
How does Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission benefit citizens?
The account created with the Health ID will keep a track of all medical appointments, diagnosis of the citizen, which can be accessible only to him/her. A person can also add a nominee to access his/her health ID and view or help manage their personal health records. This effectively makes the need to store old physical medical reports redundant. A person can walk into any approved hospital for any treatment and the hospital's staff will have access to your health history.
The system will also ease the burden of finding doctors, specialists, medical labs and drug stories by notifying you who is nearest since it will have a repository of all healthcare professionals working in both the public and private sectors.
Why is it receiving flak?
Users’ privacy has always been a topic of debate when it comes to any digital initiative by the Modi Government. After the recent Pegasus spyware scandal, these suspicions have only increased. With the draft Personal Data Protection Bill still not passed, the skepticism is likely to linger.
Nonetheless, if data is used responsibly, the government can identify gaps in healthcare facilities in different locations and use funds accordingly. Consequently, this will improve the healthcare infrastructure across the nation.