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DIGITAL HEALTH ID (DHID)

SYLLABUS: GS MAINS PAPER II

Recently, Prime Minister launched the Digital Health ID (DHID) project, generating debate on issue related to the use of technology in a broken health system. The key objective of DHID was “to improve the quality, access and affordability of health services by making the service delivery quicker, less expensive and more robust.”

BACKGROUND

The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) was launched by Prime Minister recently.

1. It aims to provide a Unique Digital Health ID to the people and ID will contain all the health records of person. It makes health “holistic and inclusive model”.

2. It also ensures ease of doing business for doctors and hospitals and health care service provider.

3. It enables access and exchange of longitudinal health records of citizens with their consent.

ABOUT DIGITAL HEALTH ID

1. It will be a repository of all health-related information of a person.

2. According to the National Health Authority (NHA), every patient who wishes to have their health records available digitally must start by creating this Health ID.

3. Health ID will be linked to a health data consent manager-such as National Digital Health Mission (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.

4. The Health ID is created by using a person’s basic details and mobile number or Aadhar number.

This will make it unique to the person, who will have the option to link all of their health records to this ID.

ADVANTAGE

1. The use of technology for record maintenance is not just inevitable but necessary.

2. With DHID, the burden of storing and carrying health records for every visit to the doctor is minimised.

3. With the help of DHID, the doctor has instant access to the patient’s case history- the treatment undertaken, where and with what outcomes- enabling more accurate diagnosis and treatment.

4. DHID enables portability across geography and health care providers, it also helps reduce re-testing or repeating problems every time a patient consults a new doctor.

5. DHID can have a transformative impact in promoting ecosystems that function as paperless facilities.

CHALLENGES

1. Lack of Infrastructure: A large majority of facilities do not have the required physical infrastructure- electricity, accommodation, trained personnel.

2. Technical problems: Cards getting corrupted, computers crashing or hanging, servers being down, power outages are common in India.

3. Investment related issue: In the immediate short run, DHID will increase administrative costs by about 20%, due to the capital investments in hardware and software development, technical personnel and data entry servers.

Amortised over the long run, the additional cost to care is expected to be about 2%.

4. Exclusion of poor and marginalised sections: The inability to synchronise biometric data with ID cards has resulted in large exclusion of the poor from welfare projects.

Such a scenario is not inconceivable and in the case of health, may cause immense hardship to the most marginalised sections of population.

5. Information Gap: With the digitised records virtually “speaking” for the patient, information gap can be problematic.

6. Issue of Privacy: There is high possibility of hacking and breaching of confidentiality. The possibilities of privacy being violated increases with the centralisation of all information.

WAY FORWARD

1. There is need to conduct pilot studies to assess the use of technology for streamlining patient flows and medical records and thereby increase efficiencies across different typologies of hospitals and facilities.

2. There is requirement of extensive fiscal subsidies and more importantly provide techno-logistical support to both government and private hospitals.

3. Technical and implementation related deficiencies must be proactively addressed.

4. By seeing the frequency with which Aadhar cards have breached and the gross invitations of the Aarogya setu and coWin, there is need to build very robust firewalls and trust.

CONCLUSION

Lack of access of technology, poverty and lack of understanding of the language in a vast and diverse country like India are problems that are need to be looked into “Just like we saw people reluctant to take Covid-19 vaccination.” Here too people will accept the system only if it’s tried and tested and is known to have some benefit. Government must weigh all pros and cons related to this policy.

Lack of access of technology, poverty and lack of understanding of the language in a vast and diverse country like India are problems that are need to be looked into “Just like we saw people reluctant to take Covid-19 vaccination.” Here too people will accept the system only if it’s tried and tested and is known to have some benefit. Government must weigh all pros and cons related to this policy.

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