Almost a year after it was implemented on pilot basis in six Union Territories, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission for the entire country Monday. It involves creation of not just a unique health ID for every citizen, but also creation of digital healthcare professionals and facilities registry.
The Prime Minister said the digital initiative has the “potential of bringing a revolutionary change in India’s healthcare facilities… Today, we will enter a new phase in our campaign to strengthen health facilities. Today, a mission is being started which has huge power to revolutionise the health facilities of India… This mission will play a big role in overcoming problems faced by the poor and middle class in the country in accessing treatment”.
He underlined that through the initiative — it will enable individuals to discover hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies across the country — the health record of every citizen will be “digitally protected”.
“Ayushman Bharat–Digital Mission will now connect digital health solutions of hospitals across the country with each other. Under this, countrymen will now get a digital health ID. The health record of every citizen will be digitally protected,” he said.
The initiative, he said, will “increase the ease of living” along with “simplifying the procedures in hospitals”. “At present, the use of technology in hospitals is currently limited to only one hospital or to a single group… The entire ecosystem related to treatment and healthcare policy-making is going to become more effective with this modern platform,” he said.
Modi said doctors and hospitals will be able to use this platform to provide remote health service. “With effective and reliable data, this will improve treatment and also save patients,” he said.
“Through the digital health ID, the patient himself and the doctor can also check old records if needed. Not only this, there will also be registration of colleagues like doctors, nurses, paramedics. The hospitals, clinics, labs, medicine shops in the country, all these will be registered. That is, this digital mission will bring every stakeholder related to health together, on a single platform,” he said.
He said the initiative will create a seamless online platform to access treatment records, and enable faster and effective treatment.
“When a patient moves to a new hospital or a new city, he has to go through the same process again. In the absence of digital health records, he has to carry files of several years of treatment. In the event of an emergency, even this is not possible. Due to this, a lot of time, of both the patient and doctor, is wasted, the problem is also more and the cost of treatment too increases a lot,” he said.
“We often see that many people do not have their medical records at the time of going to the hospital. In such a situation, the medical consultation, investigation has to be started from absolute zero, it has to be started afresh. Due to the lack of medical history records, it also takes more time and increases the cost and sometimes the treatment becomes contradictory,” he said.
The initiative, he said, is designed to benefit the poor and middle class, specifically in finding the right doctor and a hospital.
“Doctors don’t advertise themselves in the newspapers. Only after someone visits a doctor, we hear that a doctor is good. However, with this initiative, information on doctors will reach everyone; it will tell you about doctors who are knowledgeable about a speciality; it will tell you who to reach out to; who is the nearest, where you can reach at the earliest,” Modi said.
“The biggest benefit of this mission will be the poor and middle class of the country… It would be easy for the patient to find a doctor anywhere in the country who knows and understands his language and is experienced in the best treatment of his disease. This will increase the convenience of patients to contact specialist doctors present in any corner of the country. Not only doctors, but labs and drug stores will also be easily identified for better tests,” he said.