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Journey of India’s National Digital Health Mission
The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), also known as the Pradhan Mantri Digital Health Mission (PM-DHM), stands as a significant initiative by the government of India. Launched on August 15, 2020, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, its purpose is to establish a comprehensive digital health ecosystem that ensures universal health coverage in a manner that is efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely, and safe.
The NDHM is structured on six foundational pillars:
- Universal Access: The mission strives to offer digital health services to all Indians, regardless of their geographical location or socioeconomic status.
- Privacy and Security: Emphasizing the utmost importance of privacy, NDHM employs state-of-the-art encryption and security protocols to safeguard health data.
- Interoperability: Designed to seamlessly integrate with existing healthcare systems, NDHM allows users to effortlessly share their health data across different providers.
- Patient Centricity: Placing the patient at the core of the healthcare ecosystem, NDHM grants individuals’ complete control over their health data.
- Choice: Providing users with a range of digital health services and providers, NDHM offers flexibility and options.
- Innovation: Fostering innovation in the digital health sector, NDHM provides a platform for developers to create new and inventive applications.
While NDHM is still in development, it has achieved significant milestones, including:
- Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA): A digital health ID enabling users to access their health records nationwide
- Unified Health Interface (UHI): A technical framework promoting interoperability among various digital health applications
- Integration with Existing Systems: NDHM has been integrated with healthcare systems like the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) and the E-Hospital scheme.
The transformative potential of NDHM in the Indian healthcare sector is evident. By enhancing accessibility, affordability, and efficiency, NDHM aims to uplift the health and well-being of all Indians.
Current applications of NDHM include:
- ABHA for Health Records Access: Patients use their ABHA number to retrieve health records from diverse healthcare providers.
- UHI for Online Services: Patients can book appointments, consult with doctors online, and order medicines through the Unified Health Interface.
- Secure Data Exchange: Healthcare providers leverage NDHM to securely and efficiently exchange patient data.
- Government Healthcare Programs: The government employs NDHM for the implementation of healthcare programs like AB-PMJAY and the E-Hospital Scheme.
Although still in its early stages, the NDHM holds the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector in India.