PM launches Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, says it can bring revolutionary changes
New Delhi, Sep. 27 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, under which a digital health ID will be provided to citizens that will carry their health records, and said it has the potential to bring revolutionary changes in healthcare.
In his address after the virtual launch, Modi also said health has a very strong relationship with tourism as a good and integrated health infrastructure also improves the tourism sector.
Noting that digital infrastructure is bringing everything from –ration to administration (Ration to Prashaasan) –to the common Indian in a fast and transparent manner, the Prime Minister said, “the way technology is being deployed in governance reforms today is unprecedented.”
The mission marks a new phase in efforts of the last seven years of strengthening health facilities, he said and added that its reliable data will lead to better treatment and savings for patients.
“These healthcare solutions are a big investment in the present and future of the country,” he added.
The scheme, which will help doctors anywhere find the medical record of a patient with the latter’s consent, will help the poor and middle class most, he said.
The pilot project of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission was announced by the prime minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 2020 and was in six union territories. Now it will be rolled out nationwide.
Its nationwide roll-out coincides with the National Health Authority celebrating the third anniversary of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY, which provides health insurance up to Rs 5 lakh to the poor, has addressed a key concern in the lives of the poor who, he added, were often caught in the vicious web of economic deprivation due to health expenditure.
Modi said he has made it a point to personally meet some beneficiaries of the scheme and noted that so far more than 2 crore countrymen have availed the facility of free treatment under this scheme, half of which are women.
The digital mission will now connect the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country, Modi said and noted that there has also been an unprecedented expansion of telemedicine as well.
He also said that strengthening and integration of health infrastructure also boost the tourism sector.
With all adults receiving at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine in tourist hotspots like Goa and Himachal Pradesh, tourists will also feel safer in going there, he said.
The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission has the potential to bring revolutionary changes to our health facilities, he said.
The prime minister noted that India has nearly 130 crore Aadhaar users, 118 crore mobile subscribers, 80 crore internet users and 43 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts, and such a connected infrastructure can be found nowhere else in the world.
The prime minister said that under the mission, the people of the country will now get a digital health ID.
Health records of every citizen will be digitally protected, he said, adding that the poor and the middle class will benefit the most from this mission.
Underscoring the importance of technology, the prime minister pointed out that the Aarogya Setu app has helped a lot in preventing the spread of coronavirus infection.
He also noted that India has been able to administer about 90 crore vaccine doses, and the Co-WIN application and its portal played a big role in it.
Based on the foundations laid down under Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile (JAM) trinity and other digital initiatives of the government, the digital mission will create a seamless online platform through a wide range of data, information and infrastructure services, duly leveraging open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems while ensuring the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information, according to an official release.
It will enable access and exchange of longitudinal health records of citizens with their consent, the release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.
The key components of the digital mission include a health ID for every citizen that will also work as their health account, to which personal health records can be linked and viewed with the help of a mobile application, a Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR) and Healthcare Facilities Registries (HFR) that will act as a repository of all healthcare providers across both modern and traditional systems of medicine.
This will ensure ease of doing business for doctors, hospitals and healthcare service providers.
A sandbox, created as part of the digital mission will act as a framework for technology and product testing that will help organisations, including private players, intending to be a part of the National Digital Health Ecosystem become a health information provider or a health information user or efficiently link with building blocks of the mission, the PMO said.
Sandbox in computing terms is a testing environment in a computer system in which new or untested software or coding can be run securely without affecting the application, system or platform on which they are run.
This mission will also create interoperability within the digital health ecosystem, similar to the role played by the Unified Payments Interface in revolutionising payments, it said.
Citizens will only be a click away from accessing healthcare facilities, it added.
Modi said India is working on a health model that is holistic and inclusive with a focus on preventive healthcare and, in case of disease, easy, affordable and accessible treatment.
His government has taken “unprecedented” reforms in health education, he said and added that a much larger number of doctors and par medical manpower is being created in India now as compared to seven-eight years ago.
A comprehensive network of AIIMS and other modern health institutions is being established in the country and work on establishing one medical college in every three Lok Sabha constituencies is going on, he said.
Modi also spoke about strengthening health facilities in villages and said in the villages, primary health centre networks and wellness centres are being strengthened. More than 80 thousand such centres have already been operationalized.