National Digital Health Mission is a program that needs implementation for the wellbeing of our society and our upcoming generations.

The National Digital Health Mission lays a solid foundation but calls for best data security laws

On India’s 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally announced the launch of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM).

A blueprint of this mission was framed last year and with the pandemic COVID-19 attack, the mission got an accelerated relevance.

The Prime Minister, in his address to the nation, said that this mission will bring a new revolution in India’s health sector. Technology will be used prudently to reduce the challenges in treatment.

Every Indian will be given a Health ID and this Health ID will work as a Health Account of every Indian. This account will contain details of every test, every disease, the doctors one visits, the medicines prescribed and the diagnostics recommended.

In short, the mission aims to create a unified management mechanism to process digital health data and facilitate through registries of public and private facilities, health service providers, laboratories and pharmacies; and to support clinical decision-making as well as offer services like telemedicine.

To make our country’s healthcare infrastructure as efficient as the one in developed countries, the NDHM is designed to make the health system more evidence-based, transparent and efficient.

Voice&Data gathered opinions from prominent industry players on National Digital Health Mission to understand how well this mission has been received and what should be done to make this mission a success.

Few opinions that matter:

Reduces friction in the healthcare system

Bharat Gera, Project Lead at Alliance for Telemedicine Registry and Evaluation

I would say that it was a bold and welcome move to launch the National Digital Health Mission and for the PM Narendra Modi, to announce a National Health ID for India on the 15th August. NDHM promises to greatly improve healthcare delivery by empowering the patient and to reduce friction in the healthcare system, across all stakeholders.

To execute this promise, each of the stakeholders would have to take a giant leap forward to digitize their operations, at all levels. It is crucial that the main actors – patient and doctor – need to rapidly adopt digital systems. To make this digital transformation happen, we need a trusted ecosystem of healthcare providers. Technology can take us only so far; real change takes place only when humans believe it is needed for themselves.

NDHM will catalyze the digital transformation of Indian healthcare

Gerd Hoefner, Managing Direction and President, Siemens Healthineers India

The rise of value-based healthcare creates a compelling need for increased transparency and accountability from care providers. We need to show that care pathways are both effective and efficient. Connected medical technology is one way to turn patient data into faster, more accurate diagnoses and more personalized treatments. On 15th August, PM Narendra Modi made a compelling case for this with the launch of National Digital Health Mission.

We welcome the launch of the National Digital Health Mission by PM Narendra Modi. The NDHM will catalyze the digital transformation of Indian healthcare and will make health a priority for masses through public participation and assure healthcare for all. The health ID and digital personal health records for each citizen will make healthcare more affordable and efficient by nurturing a supporting ecosystem to seamlessly connect data, people, institutions, systems, and applications.

Streamlining healthcare for everyone

Aishwarya Vasudevan, Chief Operating Officer, Neuberg Diagnostics

National Digital Health Mission is a program that needs implementation for the wellbeing of our society and our upcoming generations. With the institutionalization of the structured plan of National Digital Health Mission, it will help the society and healthcare providers to have a single window access to health data of its citizen, opening up avenues for a systematic model of identifying the beneficiaries of Prime Minister’s Ayushman Bharat scheme. Facilitating the health data of the population to the research community will also help accelerate medical research in the country. The flagship programs of the government such as Ayushman Bharat and tuberculosis schemes can also be integrated with the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), and beneficiaries can be issued unique health IDs, which in turn will streamline healthcare for everyone. We at Neuberg Diagnostics stand in unison with this policy of the government.

Data collection is the biggest challenge

Rajat Garg, CEO and co-founder, myUpchar

It’s a step in the right direction. Timely access to patient’s medical history across the country can really have a huge positive impact on the patient’s health outcome. The challenge is that health is a state subject and this data is going to be generated and managed by tens of thousands of hospitals & clinics, 1M pharmacies and over 10K diagnostic centers. Getting all of them to accept a central ID system will be a bit of a challenge.

Medical History in a secure digital space

Vijender Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd

The announcement of ‘One Nation One Health Card’ will benefit both the medical fraternity and the patient as their medical history will be readily available and secure in the digital space. This approach falls in line with our philosophy at Metropolis, that of technological superiority, a warm patient-centric approach, and reliable diagnostic reports. We look forward to a smooth implementation of the same and a digitally viable healthcare future for all.

Tagging patient data

Satish Kannan, Co-founder and CEO, MediBuddy-DocsApp

We appreciate and support the Government of India’s National Digital Health Mission initiative.  With the aid of technology, this is India’s progress towards making health care efficient, economic and accessible to one and all. The central idea of the initiative is to tag all information pertaining to an individual’s medical data (prescriptions, diagnostic reports, summaries of previous discharges, doctor details, etc), to a unique health identity and enabling this information to be available on one central platform. This will be a huge step forward in providing seamless and accessible health care to millions of Indians.

Streamlines physicians’ work

Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Healthcare Services

No doubt the healthcare industry is undergoing unprecedented digital transformation in the era of coronavirus pandemic, with the leaders of provider organizations increasingly turning to the cloud to support current business needs and prepare for future innovations. The National Digital Health Mission will bring the positive impact of technology on healthcare. Telemedicine, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled medical devices, and blockchain electronic health records are just a few concrete examples of digital transformation in healthcare. With the main goal of streamlining physicians’ work, optimizing systems, improving patient outcomes, reducing human error, and lowering costs through amazing web and mobile experiences, innovation is the name of the game here.

Eases healthcare challenges for the differently-abled individuals

Prashant Agarwal, President, Narayan Seva Sansthan

India being a large economy has immense healthcare needs where a majority of the differently-abled population resides in parts of rural India. The challenge faced by the differently-abled is the ease of availability & accessibility of cost-effective public health services in these regions. With the recent announcement by Hon Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi this Independence Day on National Digital Health Mission, seems to lay a foundation to ease healthcare challenges for the differently-abled individuals.

Creation of a digital infrastructure would seamlessly Enable, Encourage and Empower the differently-abled to seek and be provided with the desired healthcare facilities. As a part of the mission having health IDs would be a great initiative to record details and create e-records of such differently-abled citizens. These records in turn would be beneficial for the government to create future plans such as treatments given to the differently-abled candidates and making them ideal or suitable for the mainstream environment not hindering them to approach challenging opportunities.

Nation has to build a domestic base for medical device manufacturing

Dr. Gurpreet Sandhu, President, Council for Healthcare & Pharma

COVID has its own ramification that has hit the whole community. It is expected to overpower our life for next 6-9 months. The positive side is that the government and the private sector have realized that we need a lot to invest sizeable for the development of Healthcare Infrastructure, Medical Colleges, Nursing, Diagnostics, Medical Device Manufacturing, and Research & Development for Affordable & Quality Medicines.

The GOI must give full fiscal/financial support to the pharma R&D. India has emerged as a global hub for low-cost high-end Generic, Biologics & Biosimilars on account of the talent pool of skilled manpower. India’s pharmaceutical industry competency to serve the world on vaccines will be complemented with affordable biologic products going forward. We as a nation have to invest and build our domestic base for Medical Device manufacturing to serve the domestic market and save on imports. The regulatory compliance agencies and industry have to work in closer proximity to ensure manufacturing quality, affordability and accessibility. The committal from our honorable Prime Minister is high towards the healthcare with launch of National Digital Health Mission.

Improves transparency of health services in India

Anmol Arora, CEO, DocVita

NDHM is the beginning of a new era. The next five years are going to be transformative for Indian Healthcare, while we will lay the foundation for one of the world’s largest digital health infrastructures. This move will give rise to an ecosystem for new startups & businesses to thrive. It will improve the transparency of health services in the country, and help us fulfill our Prime Minister’s vision to democratize healthcare in India.

Ecosystem will now work together

Gautam Chopra, CEO & Co-Founder, BeatO

The NDHM will be transformational. It will now ensure a continuum of care, keeping the patient at the center. This is a big step in getting the ecosystem of providers, insurance and digital health players to work together and make Indian healthcare accessible, affordable, standardized and patient centric. The NDHM will change the way healthcare is consumed and provided in India. It is the right time especially for digital health companies to look at it as a service to our nation as well as a huge opportunity.

National Digital Health Mission is a program that needs implementation for the wellbeing of our society and our upcoming generations.

The devil lies in the details

Dr Vispi Jokhi, Orthopedic surgeon & CEO, Masina Hospital, Mumbai

The idea is good, but as one says the devil lies in the details. Electronic Medical Records are the foundation for this and implementation based on ICD (international classification of diseases) is a challenge in itself. Especially with the size diversity along with disparity in quality and availability of health services; makes this extremely difficult to implement. Most of the private charitable hospitals from the health care industry, especially in Mumbai has not accepted Ayushman Bharat empanelment because the rates are unrealistic and don’t reflect on actual costs incurred.

Complete technology-based initiative

Vijai Shankar Raja, Founder and MD of Helyxon

HELYXON applauds and welcomes Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s launch on the National Digital Health Mission campaign on a “completely technology-based” initiative to transform Healthcare to a tech-driven sector at the 74rth Independence Day celebration. The announcement has triggered the long laid plans of investing integrated technology, artificial intelligence and IoT based devices onto a digital platform. As part of the campaign, PM Modi has also announced the “One Nation One Card” scheme to ensure accessible healthcare facilities to all the people irrespective of their geographic locations.

The pronouncement comes in compliance with Helyxon’s mission of accessible healthcare to everyone and addresses better diagnosis and effective treatments with online health information access to medical centres. The proposed integration of the Health Card with a holistic patient engagement supportive platform like EPICare would definitely be an additional benefit for patients powered by supported teleconsultations, digital health records and timely medical interventions.

Enables seamless availability of health services

Raghavendra Prasad T S, Founder, Project StepOne

The National Digital Health Mission launched by the Prime Minister on Independence Day is going to change the face of healthcare delivery in India. Most importantly, it consolidates all necessary information at one place through key features, i.e. health ID, personal health records, Digi Doctor and health facility registry, and will make this information to all the stakeholders in healthcare management and delivery in India. This is a well-timed intervention that will enable seamless availability of health services in events like the current pandemic as it reduces physical human intervention without affecting the relationship between a doctor and their patient. We are hopeful that the Mission will bring quality, availability and access together to all Indians. The pilot project, currently underway in far-flung areas such as Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, will also enable us to reach the remote areas of the country in a more cohesive manner.

Great benefit to elderly

Tapan Mishra, co-Founder of Seniority

The National Digital Health Mission is a great initiative that will enhance the health and safety of citizens, especially the elderly, who require special attention in their golden years. The NDHM will create a shift in the way we look at healthcare technology, opening up tremendous opportunities for players like us to offer integrated health and wellness solutions to consumers.

Healthcare data privacy and security concerns

Shabnum Khan, Founder, 750 AD Health Care Pvt Ltd

The reality of healthcare privacy and security concerns is not just in India but all across the globe. In fact, the healthcare sector is the one wherein core people involved are the biggest threat. We hope every citizen’s data is secured and the government identifies methods to protect intellectual property from threats or disclosure. The obtaining of digital patient records, provider alliance, enhanced regulation and the escalating need for information between providers, patients and the government, all emphasize on the need for exceptional information security in place.

In fact, as per data, the healthcare sector is the only sector wherein core people involved are the biggest threat. We hope that every citizen’s data is secured and that the government has identified methods to protect intellectual property from threats or disclosure.

Data provision and usage can lead to better health analytics

Dr. Gaurav Thukral, EVP & CEO, HealthCare atHOME (HCAH)

This year’s 74th Independence Day has acquired a new meaning, a new direction. India is known for its immunization programs and vaccine manufacturing capabilities across the globe. Make for World will become very relevant when the world will see India as the source of the vaccine which will hopefully end this COVID era. Talking about the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), this will not only bring a new revolution in Indian Healthcare Sector but will also fuel Healthcare Digitalization.

The Health ID will have seamless information and records which will make life easy for the doctor online or offline to use the info as pre-consult. This will save time for the patient and doctor both as they will be dealing more with present issues. The registry with doctors and beyond will help streamline the quality of HCPs and build accountability for them.

There is no regulation beyond doctors and nursing and hence this will help better regulation as the individual needs to be registered through their graduating college itself. The healthcare facility registry again will be extended to out of hospital care providers to make it regulated and governed for insurance and govt. schemes. Slowly by putting everything online efficiencies will develop and data provision and usage will lead to better analytics on health outcomes.

Reduces the risk of preventable medical errors

Dr. Swadeep Srivastava, Founder & CEO, HEAL Health Connect Solutions

Of course, the National Digital Health Mission will be a game-changer in the healthcare landscape of India. This mission will contain a repository of all health-related information of every Indian through an individual national health ID. It will greatly reduce the risk of preventable medical errors and significantly increase the quality of care. This will also help doctors in fast diagnosis, thereby reducing the time spent by doctors per patient. Besides facilitating the patients in not storing or carrying the health records physically when visiting the doctor, if implemented well, it can reduce overall healthcare expenses.

Creates a future-proof ecosystem

Piyush Somani, CMD, ESDS Software Solution-

The National Digital health mission is a strong leap towards India’s objective of achieving digital transformation. With centralized data on health records and unique health IDs, we are ensuring we are creating a future-proof ecosystem of tackling any crisis or pandemics. Seamless implementation of the NDHM will be a huge boost for our strained healthcare infrastructure.

Geographical, demographical, and risk-factor based monitoring of health is possible

Siddharth Xavier, Director and co-Founder, CWD Innovations

Operationalising a single health ID and profile for every citizen, as envisaged under the NDHM, is an important reform for optimising health information systems. From a policy perspective, a system-wide electronic health profile can enable monitoring of diseases and efficient analysis of patient data, thus enabling quicker decision-making. At CWD Innovations we believe this can also facilitate geographical, demographical and risk-factor based monitoring of health, followed by the design of targeted interventions.

Can optimize yearly planning and asset deployment

Anita Sumra Singh, CEO, Chicago-based Jorie Healthcare Partners

We really appreciate the introduction of the ‘National Digital Health Mission’ by the Indian government. This a very important first step that will completely revolutionise the Indian Healthcare sector in the years to come. It will not only prove beneficial for the general population but also for healthcare providers (both private and government). It will mean better healthcare data collection and abstraction which will enable providers to optimize their yearly planning and asset deployment when it comes to dedicating resources.

Improves health services especially in rural and semi-urban India

Varinder K Arora, Managing Director, Management & Communication Group

The national digital health mission launched by PM Narendra Modi is a move towards Mobile Health or mWorld. We are far behind in the field of digital health and have no digital record which can be shared at any hospital by a patient. Today, the same radiology test is prescribed by the number of doctors for a patient. Even patients hide old treatment history. The same was in the automobile sector as now one can see the history of the vehicle as to where and when it was serviced.  Similarly, this digital health mission will go a long way in creating much-needed transparency in the health sector and improve health services, especially in rural and semi-urban India.

In conclusion

The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) certainly lays the foundation for India’s healthcare infrastructure. It is the start of a reform that optimizes health information systems at large, ushering digital technologies of all levels to strengthen the system.

If the ecosystem at large can work with a uniform motto, with a uniform system, to gather health profiles electronically, and also securely, then India is going to be super placed making it a powerhouse of healthcare facilities.

The Aarogya Setu App and eSanjeevani platforms are already showing tremendous success in the pandemic containment and as efforts go on to strengthen the system, the NDHM in making can help mitigate future challenges posed by any pandemic.

Anusha Ashwin

x-anushaa@cybermedia.co.in

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