Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 15
The government today began consultations on an ambitious plan to digitise health records of all Indians by 2022.
The Health Ministry threw open for public consultation a critical document that speaks of digitising personal health records of all Indians and forming structures to store these data safely. It said such a digital network would enable a rollout of universal health coverage benefits under Ayushman Bharat efficiently. But that’s just the starting goal, with the aim to create a national digital health network.
Called the “National Digital Health Blueprint” report, the document speaks of creating a “system of personal health records based on international standards and easily accessible to citizens and to service providers based on citizen consent.” The proposed objectives of the report are establishing and managing core digital health data of people and the infrastructure required for its seamless exchange. Drafted by NITI Aayog and fine tuned by a Health Ministry panel, the report reveals government’s intentions of developing digital health systems that span sectors such as wellness to disease management.
The creation of personal health records would mean storage of all data related to an individual across all health providers he visits. Such a personal health card would consist of a citizen’s medical history, medication and allergies, immunisation status, laboratory test results, radiology images, vital signs, personal statistics like age and weight, demographics and billing information, and multiple health applications.
The report acknowledges, “Because health data is sensitive, the design and implementation must ensure the right level of privacy and security for such information; thus, the persona health record is maintained in a secure and private environment, with the individual determining rights of access.”
The report is an extension of NITI Aayog’s 2018 work titled “National Health Stack” where Aayog’s member Health VK Paul in a foreword says, “The National Health Stack represents a holistic platform that supports a multitude of health verticals and their disparate branches, and is capable of integrating future IT solutions for a sector poised for rapid, disruptive changes and unforeseen twists.”
Blueprint pitches for
- National health electronic registries to create a single source of health information and manage master health data of the nation
- Personal health records to allow consent-based flow of citizens’ health records to stakeholders who require this data to deliver value-added services to the user
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