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Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission-Enabling digital health to leapfrog in India

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The insightful keynote address by Dr RS Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority set the context for the sessions at Radiology & Imaging Conclave 2021

He gave an overview of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) and explained about its building blocks.

Talking about Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, Dr Sharma said, “The whole purpose of this mission is to ensure as to how we can leverage the information & communication technologies to deliver quality, accessible and ubiquitous health services.”

Stressing on some statistics on the scale of digitisation, he said, “Today we have 1.8 billion mobile connections, 8 billion internet connections and about 600 billion smart phones in the country. India has created a conducive environment for deployment of digitalisation, with good digital infrastructure and artefacts, for e.g, Aadhaar – a digital identity system and UPIs including others. These artefacts are a very good ground for initiating any digital mission in any sector. Health is just a starting sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption and implementation of digital services across sectors, including healthcare.”

Explaining about the building blocks of ABDM, Dr Sharma added, “In health space, we are building certain building blocks of this digital mission. One of the building block is registry of hospitals. Another one is registry of health profession i.e Health Professional Registry (HPR) which will essentially tell us as to which are the designated health professionals in every system. Most importantly, we are also building a Personal Health Repository of a person where one can access and share his/her digital health records via digital consent artifact that we are building which will be linked to the personal Health ID of a person. With this health ID, the concerned person will have a horizontal view of all his health records. We will have the health record providers, users and consent managers. These are some of the components which have already been built.”

“Our honorable Prime Minister launched this pilot project on August 15, 2020 and in the last one year of this pilot phase, we have perfected all these technologies. They are built, tried and piloted. We are now constructing and filling these registries with data so that people can start using it. This entire system will be a win-win for everybody including the patients, doctors, labs and service providers.”

Dr Sharma also spoke about the recently announced e-rupee scheme which is a purpose-specific and person-specific voucher where government gives lot of subsidies. “In line with this, we are also working on providing a voucher through which they will be able to directly pay to the provider instead of raising bills. We provide healthcare to 40 per cent of India’s bottom income population. They use hospitilisation and other kind of laboratories services. Any technology should be made for the people and people for not made for the technology. We are building digital platforms for health which are scalable, interoperable and patient-centric.”

Appreciating the efforts of Express Healthcare to organise Radiology and Imaging Conclave 2021 he concluded by requesting the support of the sector for ABDM saying, “The broad philosophy of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is based on the principles of inclusiveness and ensuring that it is people-centric. I want to use this opportunity to call upon all the healthcare professionals to come together and build this platform so that we can provide ubiquitous, affordable and quality healthcare to our people.”

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