National Digital Health Mission (NDHM)
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has formulated the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) with the aim to provide the necessary support for integration of digital health infrastructure in the country. This visionary initiative, stemming from the National Health Policy, 2017 intends to digitize healthcare in India.
National Health Authority (NHA) has been entrusted with the role of designing strategy, building technological infrastructure and implementation of “National Digital Health Mission”. NHA is also apex body for implementation of Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana”(AB-PMJAY). The NDHM is a collaborative initiative between many ministries/departments.
Its vision is to create a national digital health ecosystem that supports universal health coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely and safe manner and 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, and ensures the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.
The NDHM has been designed, developed, deployed, operated and maintained by the Government following the guiding principles as laid out in National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB).
NDHM will be rolled out in phases and four primary systems shall be launched in the first phase. At a later stage, there is also a plan to integrate telemedicine and e-pharmacies into this.
It is important to standardize the process of identification of an individual across healthcare providers. Health ID will be used to uniquely identify persons, authenticate them, and threading their health records (only with the informed consent of the patient) across multiple systems and stakeholders.
Health ID is created by using basic details and mobile number or Aadhaar number and it will be unique to a person. Health ID can be obtained with the support of healthcare provider who is in the national health infrastructure registry or it can be obtained by self-registration from a mobile or a web application.
Each Health ID will be linked to a health data consent manager (such as NDHM) which will be used to seek the patient's consent and allow for seamless flow of health information from the personal health records module.
At present Health ID is announced in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Ladakh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
Digi-Doctor: It is a comprehensive repository of all doctors practicing or teaching modern/ traditional systems of medicine. Enrolling on Digi-Doctor is completely voluntary and enables doctors to get connected to India’s digital health ecosystem.
Health Facility Registry (HFR): It is a comprehensive repository of health facilities of the country across different systems of medicine. It includes both public and private health facilities including hospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories and imaging centers, pharmacies, etc.
Personal Health Records (PHR): PHR is an electronic record of health-related information of an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be drawn from multiple sources while being managed, shared, and controlled by the individual.
Electronic Medical Records: EMR is a digital version of a patient’s treatment history from a single facility. The health information recorded in a facility is stored locally at the facility where the patient was registered. The patient’s clinical information will be linked to their Health ID. The clinical information can further be shared with other healthcare facilities after the patient provides consent.
By establishing a comprehensive, nationwide integrated digital health ecosystem, NDHM will contribute significantly to achieving the goals of National Health Policy 2017 and the SDGs related to health. NDHM will mark a new beginning for the Indian digital healthcare ecosystem, enabling more effective delivery of healthcare services and moving towards health to all.
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