The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) is a visionary initiative by the Indian government aimed at providing individuals with a unique digital health ID that consolidates their health records.
NDHM – A Step in the Right Direction
- Facilitates access and exchange of citizens’ health records with their consent.
- Comprises four key components: health ID, personal health records, Digi Doctor, and health facility registry.
- Envisions expansion to include e-pharmacy and telemedicine services, enhancing healthcare accessibility.
- Promotes ease of doing business for healthcare providers.
- Digi Doctor enables nationwide doctor enrollment, fostering a broader healthcare network.
- National health ID serves as a comprehensive repository for Indian citizens’ health-related data.
- Encourages participation of various healthcare entities like hospitals, labs, insurance companies, and telemedicine firms.
- Promotes interoperability, akin to Unified Payments Interface in payments.
- Ensures convenient access to healthcare facilities.
- Data Misuse: Risk of compromising citizens’ health and personal data privacy.
- Data Leakage: Need for robust technological security measures to prevent data breaches.
- Profiteering: Concerns about commercial exploitation.
- Foreign Surveillance: Possibility of foreign entities gaining access to sensitive health data.
- Data Confidentiality: Prioritize the absolute confidentiality and security of patient health records.
- Data Localization: Implement data localization measures as recommended by the BN Srikrishna committee.
- Data Protection Legislation: Advocate for specific provisions for health data protection in the Draft Data Protection Bill.
- Learning from UK’s NHS: Carefully analyze the failures of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to address technical and implementation-related issues before a nationwide NDHM launch.
The National Digital Health Mission represents a significant advancement in healthcare accessibility and efficiency. However, safeguarding data privacy is paramount. Therefore, it is imperative that data privacy concerns are effectively addressed during its implementation, ensuring that the mission truly benefits the citizens of India.