Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

What are the concerns of digital health mission?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

Mains level : Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), was recently launched by the PM.

About Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

  • The pilot project of the National Digital Health Mission was announced by PM Modi during his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort on August 15, 2020.
  • The mission will enable access and exchange of longitudinal health records of citizens with their consent.
  • This will ensure ease of doing business for doctors and hospitals and healthcare service providers.

The key components of the project include

  • 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,
  • Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR)
  • Healthcare Facilities Registries (HFR) that will act as a repository of all healthcare providers across both modern and traditional systems of medicine

How will it work?

  • In order to be a part of the ABDM, citizens will have to create a unique health ID – a randomly generated 14-digit identification number.
  • The ID will give the user unique identification, authentication and will be a repository of all health records of a person.
  • The ID can also be made by self-registration on the portal, downloading the ABMD Health Records app on one’s mobile or at a participating health facility.
  • The beneficiary will also set up a Personal Health Records (PHR) address for the issue of consent, and for future sharing of health records.

Major privacy issues involved

  • Informed Consent: The citizen’s consent is vital for all access. A beneficiary’s consent is vital to ensure that information is released.
  • Data leakages issue: Personalised data collected at multiple levels are a “sitting gold mine” for insurance companies, international researchers, and pharma companies.
  • Digital divide: Other experts add that lack of access to technology, poverty, and lack of understanding of the language in a vast and diverse country like India are problems that need to be looked into.
  • Data Migration: The data migration and inter-State transfer are still faced with multiple errors and shortcomings in addition to concerns of data security.

Other challenges

  • Existing digitalization is yet incomplete: India has been unable to standardise the coverage and quality of the existing digital cards like One Nation One Ration card, PM-JAY card, Aadhaar card, etc., for accessibility of services and entitlements.
  • Lack of healthcare facilities: The defence of data security by expressed informed consent doesn’t work in a country that is plagued by the acute shortage of healthcare professionals to inform the client fully.
  • Lack of finance: With the minuscule spending of 1.3% of the GDP on the healthcare sector, India will be unable to ensure the quality and uniform access to healthcare that it hoped to bring about.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments