Health ID: Another Aadhaar in the offing for new digital medical care...

Health ID: Another Aadhaar in the offing for new digital medical care ecosystem


NEW DELHI: A health identity card Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced for all citizens to launch Digital Health Mission on Saturday is expected to empower care seekers by giving each of them a unique identity number, bringing in transparency and check multiple frauds plaguing the sector, experts involved in the NDA’s key project exclusively told ET.

In his address to the nation from Red Fort, Modi said the initiative which is “completely technology based” would revolutionise the health care sector and the ID card each citizen would eventually get will have all the information about his or her medical conditions.

Government sources boast that once an individual is registered and gets a unique health ID, the chances of pilferage and misuse of several health schemes either by patients or doctors, hospitals and medical device manufacturers would get minimised.

After it is rolled out, said government sources, hospitals and doctors will not be able to fleece patients through excessive billing for treatment. For example, doctors will be held accountable if they prescribe unwanted multiple antibiotics to patients because of the compulsory digital pugmarks ID would leave behind. Similarly, government sources pointed out, children who will be born after the health ID comes into existence will have all their records, right from immunisation to other treatment later in their lives. This would also reduce harassment from keeping bulky medical files or seeking records from hospitals, they believe.

Speaking exclusively to ET, Prof Rajendra Gupta, who has been assisting the government to formulate the Digital Health Mission, said the move will bring in accountability in the sector, increase the quality of care in the country and will offer unadulterated data to the policy makers in the government to concentrate on wellness of the society.

“India will be the first country in the world to have comprehensive digital health standards. Hopefully by early 2021, India will start accrediting digital health providers. Typically, what a country would have taken 1-3 years to develop, we will deliver in four months and this especially is commendable as no country has such a standard,” insisted Prof Gupta.

Currently Prof Gupta is chairing a draft committee constituted for setting up the digital health standards and he was also in a core panel which had put together the WHO digital health guidelines and the global digital health index.

A set of digital health standards are a must to ensure that the providers adhere to a well-defined guideline which would act as benchmarks to ensure the safety, quality and confidentiality of the care seeker is not compromised, adds Prof Gupta, who was also part of the panel which prepared the just released new education policy. It would cover among others doctor consultations, medical equipment and software systems including cloud storage of data, he explained.

The committee has taken a ‘systems approach’ to standards development and have covered extensive ground on privacy, security and interoperability. The digital health standards, being compiled post interaction with global pioneers and standards developers, will be out in the public domain for comments and inputs by August end.

Prof. Gupta believes that once these standards are out, a whole new digital health ecosystem will shape up and can create ten million jobs if we consider the internet of things (IOT ) and ancillary services. With 5G on the anvil, he envisaged that healthcare delivery will change forever and India may lead the way in showing the world how tech can transform healthcare and make it more outcome driven.

But, government sources stressed the biggest challenge would be on implementing this scheme beyond metros and in villages not only due to lack of penetration of internet connectivity and round the clock availability of electricity but also single doctors and hospitals may refuse to entertain patients with health IDs like they are doing now under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

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