Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission through video conferencing to provide Digital Health ID to citizens, which will contain all their health records. The programme is implemented in six states and union territories on a pilot basis. Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will create an online platform that enables interoperability within the digital health ecosystem and will now connect the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country with each other. Under the New Mission, every citizen will now get a digital health ID and digitally protect the citizens’ health record. The digital mission is the latest project under Ayushman Bharat Scheme. National Health Authority (NHA) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be the implementing agency of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.

Ayushman Bharat Scheme

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is a central government’s national public health insurance fund that aims to provide free access to health insurance coverage for people with low income in the country. It was first initiated on 23 September 2018.

The insurance has covered more than 50 crore Indian citizens and plans to make secondary and tertiary healthcare free of cost for the underprivileged section of society. The insurance covers three days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days of post-hospitalization expenses. The insurance also covers around 1,400 procedures with all related costs like OT expenses. PMJAY provides Rs. 5 lakh coverage to every family per year, thus helping the economically backward access healthcare services efficiently.

India has many infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, H1N1 pandemic influenza, and chronic non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer. These are the leading causes of mortality in the country. Other factors that threaten the country’s health security are the aging population, climate change, globalization, urbanization, and changing lifestyles. However, the cost of medical treatment is very high in the country. Treatment at private hospitals costs four times more than treatment in public and government hospitals. This puts people below the poverty line at a disadvantage. The PM Jan Arogya Yojana beneficiaries will get an e-card that can be used to avail free services and medical treatment at a hospital, public or private, anywhere in the country.

The Government announced two major initiatives in the health sector as part of the Ayushman Bharat programme: the Health and Wellness Centre and the National Health Protection Scheme. The Health and Wellness Centre will provide health care for non-communicable diseases, free essential drugs, maternal and child health services, and diagnostic services. It also provides vaccinations against selected infectious diseases, mental health services, and testing for hypertension, diabetes, and some cancers. National Health Protection Scheme will identify eligible families through the socio-economic caste census (SECC) data and protects over ten crore poor and vulnerable families or around 50 crore people. It will provide coverage up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

Features of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

  • Use of Technology: The implementation of e-Sanjeevani has enabled and expanded remote consultation of telemedicine during the pandemic. The digital mission will connect the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country with each other.
  • Health Id: The Health Id, which works as a health account, is issued for every citizen. This health account will constitute every medical test, disease, doctor visit, medicines taken, and diagnosis. Health ID is free of cost, voluntary. It will help analyse health data and lead to better planning, budgeting and implementation for health programs.
  • Healthcare Facilities & Professionals’ Registry: A significant aspect of the mission is the creation of the Healthcare Professionals’ Registry (HPR) and Healthcare Facilities Registry (HFR), which allows easy electronic access to medical professionals and health infrastructure. The HPR is a comprehensive record of all healthcare professionals involved in delivering healthcare services across both modern and traditional systems of medicine. The HFR database has records of all the country’s health facilities.
  • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission Sandbox: The Sandbox will act as a framework for technology and product testing. That will help organizations, including private parties intending to be a part of the national digital health ecosystem become Health Information Provider or Health Information User.

Benefits of the Mission

  • The Health ID will enable people to use IT-enabled tools to share prescriptions, blood test reports and X-ray diagnostics with doctors.
  • The gravity of Covid-19 effects amongst those with multiple medical conditions has highlighted the need for a record that efficiently alerts a doctor to a patient’s medical history.
  • Creating a health record system could improve public health monitoring and advance evidence-based policymaking in the long term.
  • Old medical records cannot get lost as every record will be stored digitally. The Digital Ecosystem will also enable a host of other facilities like Digital Consultation, Consent of patients in letting medical practitioners access their records, etc.