AYUSHMAN BHARAT DIGITAL MISSION
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission via video conferencing. PM Modi had announced the pilot project of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission on August 15, 2020, from the Red Fort. The Mission is also known as the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). Currently, the Mission is being implemented in the pilot phase across 6 union territories. The nationwide launch of the Mission coincides with the 3rd anniversary of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (ABPM-JAY).
WHAT IS AYUSHMANN BHARAT DIGITAL MISSION?
Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will create a seamless online platform through the provision of a wide-range of data, information, and infrastructure services, duly leveraging open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems. The Mission will ensure the security, confidentiality, and privacy of health-related personal information, and enable access and exchange of longitudinal health records of citizens with their consent. The Mission is based on the foundations laid down in the form of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile (JAM) trinity, and other digital initiatives of the government. It aims to create interoperability within the digital health ecosystem, similar to the role played by the Unified Payments Interface in revolutionizing payments. Citizens will be a click away from accessing healthcare facilities. It aims to provide digital health IDs for all Indian citizens to help hospitals, insurance firms, and citizens access health records electronically when required. The pilot project of the Mission had been announced by the Prime Minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 2020. The pilot scheme is currently being implemented across 6 union territories namely Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, and Daman & Diu, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.
KEY BENEFITS OF AYUSHMAN BHARAT DIGITAL MISSION
- Empowering citizens with a modern healthcare system.
- Easy access to health records of citizens and healthcare professionals.
- Enabling the private healthcare sector to participate.
- Making healthcare providers and doctors to be more accessible and accountable.
- Providing efficient healthcare services for the benefit of people.
- Help people with medical services in remote and urban areas.
- Provide affordable health facilities at the grassroots level.
- Giving highest importance to the privacy of the personal data of the citizens.
FEATURES OF THE MISSION
- Health ID: It will be issued for every citizen that will also work as their health account. This health account will contain details of every test, every disease, the doctors visited, the medicines taken and the diagnosis. Health ID is free of cost, voluntary. It will help in doing analysis of health data and lead to better planning, budgeting and implementation for health programs.
- Healthcare Facilities & Professionals’ Registry: The other major component of the programme is creating a Healthcare Professionals’ Registry (HPR) and Healthcare Facilities Registry (HFR), allowing easy electronic access to medical professionals and health infrastructure. The HPR will be a comprehensive repository of all healthcare professionals involved in delivering healthcare services across both modern and traditional systems of medicine. The HFR database will have records of all the country’s health facilities.
- Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission Sandbox: The Sandbox, created as a part of the mission, will act as a framework for technology and product testing that will help organisations, including private players intending to be a part of the national digital health ecosystem become a Health Information Provider or Health Information User or efficiently link with building blocks of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.
- Implementing Agency: National Health Authority (NHA) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
EXPECTED BENEFITS OF THE MISSION
- Ensure ease of doing business for doctors and hospitals and healthcare service providers. Enable access and exchange of longitudinal health records of citizens with their consent. Create integration within the digital health ecosystem, similar to the role played by the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in revolutionising payments.
- Concerns: The lack of a data protection bill could lead to the misuse of data by private firms and bad actors. Exclusion of citizens and denied healthcare due to faults in the system are also a cause of concern.
AYUSHMAN BHARAT PRADHAN MANTRI JAN AROGYA YOJANA (AB PM-JAY)
Under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) approximately 20.32 lakh Covid-19 tests and 7.08 lakh treatments were authorised from April 2020 to July 2021. It offers a sum insured of Rs.5 lakh per family for secondary care (which doesn’t involve a super specialist) as well as tertiary care (which involves a super specialist). Under PM-JAY, cashless and paperless access to services are provided to the beneficiaries at the point of service. Health Benefit Packages covers surgery, medical and day care treatments, cost of medicines and diagnostics. Packaged rates (Rates that include everything so that each product or service is not charged for separately). They are flexible, but they can’t charge the beneficiary once fixed by the hospitals. The scheme also has prescribed a daily limit for medical management.
The NDHM still does not recognize Health as a justiciable right. There should be a push draft at making health a right, as prescribed in the draft National Health Policy, 2015. In addition, the failure of a similar National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom must be learnt from and the technical and implementation-related deficiencies must be proactively addressed prior to launching the mission on a pan India scale. The standardisation of NDHM architecture across the country will need to find ways to accommodate state-specific rules. It also needs to be in sync with government schemes like Ayushman Bharat Yojana and other IT-enabled schemes like Reproductive Child Health Care and NIKSHAY etc.
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