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

Why the Centre has extended the Digital Health Incentive Scheme?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Digital Health Incentive Scheme

Mains level: Why has the scheme been extended?

Why in the News?

The central government has granted a one-year extension to the Digital Health Incentive Scheme (DHIS), aimed at digitizing patients’ health records and integrating them with the Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Account (ABHA ID).

About the Digital Health Incentive Scheme:   

  • The National Health Authority (NHA) launched the Digital Health Incentive Scheme on January 1, 2023, to implement the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) to create a digital health ecosystem in the country.
    • ABDM intends to support different healthcare facilities like clinics, diagnostic centers, hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies in adopting the ABDM ecosystem to make available the benefits of digital health for all the citizens of India.
  • It encourages the adoption of digital health solutions like Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) and Laboratory Management Information Systems (LMIS) by offering financial incentives for each additional record digitized beyond a specified threshold.
  • Benefits of the Digital Health Incentive Scheme:
    • Earn incentives for Digitization: Reimburse the expenses incurred for digitization to all the participating healthcare facilities and digital Solution Companies.
    • Efficiency in Healthcare Delivery: Seamless access to patient’s longitudinal health records; Removes hassles in the healthcare process (registration, appointment, consultation, IPD admission, discharge, etc).
    • Building a Robust Digital Health Ecosystem: Building a robust digital health ecosystem across different levels of healthcare facilities.
    • Improved Quality of Care: Evidence-based, accessible, and good quality care. Patient’s ease of access to digitized health records and improved healthcare delivery.

Why has the scheme been extended? 

  • The extension aims to sustain momentum in the adoption of digital health technologies. By providing additional time, the scheme supports more healthcare providers, both public and private, in overcoming financial barriers associated with digitization and promoting a digital-first approach to healthcare delivery.
  •  Extending the scheme allows for incorporating feedback from stakeholders and refining its implementation based on operational insights. This iterative process ensures that the scheme remains effective in enhancing healthcare efficiency, patient care, and accessibility to medical records across the country.

How many Hospitals and Digital Health Companies have availed of the incentive? 

  • Registered Facilities: A total of 4,005 healthcare facilities have registered for the Digital Health Incentive Scheme (DHIS). This includes 1,085 private healthcare facilities.
  • Digital Solution Companies (DSCs): There are 41 digital solution companies (DSCs) registered under the scheme, out of which 36 are private companies.
  • Availed the Scheme: Among the registered facilities and companies, 584 healthcare facilities have availed the scheme so far. This includes 83 private healthcare facilities. Additionally, 12 DSCs, including 10 private companies, have also availed the incentive.

How can it be beneficial for the patients?                                     

  • Quick Registration: Patients can benefit from quicker OPD registrations through digital systems, reducing waiting times at hospitals and clinics.
  • Digital Transactions: Digital health records enable easier access to medical history and facilitate seamless sharing of information between healthcare providers, ensuring continuity of care.
  • Reduced Redundancy: Digital records help in avoiding duplicate tests and procedures due to lost or misplaced paper records, which is particularly beneficial for patients who move between healthcare facilities or states.
  • Better Coordination: Healthcare providers can access comprehensive patient records quickly, leading to more coordinated and effective treatment plans.
  • Prevention of Additional Costs: By reducing the need for repeat tests and administrative overheads associated with paper-based records, patients are less likely to incur unnecessary expenses.
  • Clear Communication: Patients can securely view, access, and share their health records with healthcare providers, promoting transparency and informed decision-making about their care.
  • Secure Storage: Digital health records stored under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Account (ABHA ID) ensure data security and privacy, adhering to regulatory standards.

Do you know what is ‘ABHA ID’? 

  • ABHA ID, or Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Account ID, is a unique digital identifier issued to individuals in India.
  • It serves as a centralized platform for individuals to store and manage their medical records digitally, including doctor consultations, prescriptions, and diagnostic test results.
  • ABHA ID facilitates easy access to health information across different healthcare providers, promotes continuity of care, and supports informed decision-making during medical treatments.

Conclusion: The extension of the Digital Health Incentive Scheme aims to boost adoption of digital health solutions, benefiting patients with improved access and care coordination. Challenges include ensuring equitable access and addressing digital literacy barriers.


Mains PYQ:

Q Appropriate local community level healthcare intervention is a prerequisite to achieve ‘Health for All’ in India. Explain. (UPSC IAS/2018)


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