Health records to be linked with Aadhaar?

Chennai: In a bid to completely digitise health records of country’s citizens, the government has planned to introduce interoperable electronic health records (EHR). Further, in an ambitious move, it has been proposed that Aadhaar-based identification of patients be used for maintaining health records.

This would help the government manage and analyse the enormous chunk of data that will be generated through the Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat programme,

“The need of the hour is to create an ecosystem which can integrate the existing health information systems and show a clear path for upcoming programmes for ensuring interoperability of EHR,” said Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan after releasing the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) in the public domain. He also invited feedback from stakeholders.

Further a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare committee has recommended the setting up of a National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) to undertake the activities.

“While Aadhaar assures uniqueness of identity and provides an online mechanism for authentication, it cannot be used in every health context as per the applicable regulations. The design of PHI, therefore, must allow multiple identifiers (chosen from the specified types of identifiers) for designing the structure and processes relating to PHI,” the committee’s report states.

The committee has also suggested a command, control, and communication center (CCCC) as a single point of contact in public health emergencies. It estimates that all the components of the Mission would take about 18 months to develop.

The online record is envisaged to act as a receptacle of the comprehensive records of patients. The draft of the report was released by Dr Harsh Vardhan at the national capital.

“The digital health interventions are accelerating this transformation and have a huge potential for supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC). India has everything that can help it achieve Health for all,” he stated.

He said the National Digital Health Blueprint is in line with the vision of the Prime Minister to reach each individual of this country with services at their doorstep under Digital India Programme.

He further stated that the government is strongly committed to Universal Health Coverage (UHC). “The digital health interventions are accelerating this transformation and have a huge potential for supporting UHC,” Harsh Vardhan said.

“We have made a mark in history by launching Ayushman Bharat Yojana which is operational on a robust IT Platform. Other IT enabled schemes like Reproductive Child Healthcare, NIKSHAY, etc. are also benefitting the patients at right time with right service delivery. There is a need to ensure convergence across these IT systems to monitor and provide health services in a robust and efficient manner,” he mentioned.