A Digital Medical ID for Everyone to Strengthen Indian Healthcare
To expand the “Digital India Campaign” to another level, the Indian Government to start a $23 million program providing a digital medical ID to every citizen that is expected to boost India’s economic growth amidst the covid-19 pandemic, said Indu Bhusan, CEO of Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB – PMJAY) and the National Health Authority (NHA), Government of India.
The National Digital Health Mission associated with the Digital India Campaign, which works towards building a repository of healthcare providers and doctors across India. Additionally, it will digitize the citizen’s health records and lead to reduced costs and improved economic outcomes, he added in an interview.
Analyzing the Big Data provided by the healthcare providers, “It will result in better planning, budgeting, and implementation for the regional health programs to act as an efficient cost optimizer.”, said Indu, who compared the benefits produced by the “New Digital Healthcare” to those from allowing telemedicine and virtual visits.
With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the healthcare industry has transformed rapidly. And, we can expect these future-technologies to revamp pharma care to another level of convenience for Indians.
According to a World Bank report, “Asia’s third-largest economy, India’s spending on its healthcare is too low about 3.5% of its Gross Domestic Product ” — one of the lowest healthcare expenditures in the world. The efforts to deal with the world’s second-highest tally of COVID-19 patients are stretching government coffers, while the country’s economy leads to its yearly contraction in forty-years.
Amidst all these tense situations, the implementation of this Digital Health Plan can boost the country’s productivity and heads for an additional advantage of nearly $250 billion to India’s GDP in the next 10-years, according to a report published by The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Boston Consulting Group.
A report indicates that nearly 600 million Indians pushed back to the poverty line yearly because of high healthcare expenses, 60% of which borne out-of-money. This puts “substantial constraints on public welfare and the country’s economic growth as well,” shared Mr. Bhusan, An Indian bureaucrat who turned economist with links in the World Bank and the Asian Bank Development.
With the implementation of Digital Healthcare, including telemedicine, he is expecting the number to be declined. These digital services are supposed to help in the early diagnosis of healthcare conditions and identification of the unqualified healthcare providers.
These new technologies will revamp the entire healthcare but how? The questions about connectivity & privacy hit hard amid all these preparations to boost the country’s economic growth. Here’s what Bhusan said on this.
Digital Healthcare: Connectivity & Privacy
The Indian Government is among the world’s most aggressive governments in digitizing the identities of its citizens, expecting to minimize interrupting inefficiencies and open gates for a digital revolution. But cyber experts and privacy advocates have been concerned about the dangers of potential leaks of sensitive patient data, connecting and uploading health records in particular platforms with significant risks.
The “Digital India” campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August, is revolutionary for now and being tested in six federal administrative regions. But, with only about 1.3 billion, half of India’s population internet users often facing poor network connectivity and coverage, a countrywide implementation would be slightly challenging. Internet connectivity and computers would be a luxury item in many rural areas running out of electricity, water, and toilets.
Keeping all these challenges in mind, the government will have to design a blueprint to reach out to an unreached and “digitally illiterate” community in the remote areas. Bhusan shared his view on the danger of increasing challenges about privacy & state surveillance, “All the data will be stored in a government-owned cloud”, with strong measures to monitor and balance to prevent any misuse of data.
Modi Care and Ayushman Bharat programs launched in 2018 provided basic health coverage to nearly 500 million Indian citizens for the first time in history. However, the outbreak has made it all-important to have digital systems in hospitals to enhance efficiency, reduce overheads, and improve healthcare. It will enable the authority to identify risks and research that will significantly impact the response to any such pandemic in the future.
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