- The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) which is set to be launched on 15th August 2020, Independence Day by the Prime Minister prima facie seems to be a game-changer and a harbinger of the digital revolution in the field of national health ecosystem if implemented as envisaged. As reports suggest, the mission has received in-principle approval from the Union Cabinet. The platform would have four key features viz. health IDs, personal health records, digital doctor, and health facility registry.
PC: Business Today
- The mission once implemented is expected to revolutionize the healthcare system in the country by creating an online portal for health records of citizens as well as those of caregivers in one place. The platform is also planned to include e-pharmacy and telemedicine services after the regulatory guidelines for the functionality are firmly established. The healthcare ecosystem aims to optimally utilize the transformative technological aids by deploying the superlative power of Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, and data analytics.
- A combination of technology and efficacy should do wonders if the marriage works out as desired. It would be wonderful to watch devices like handheld ultrasound scanners or smartphone/tablet uploading patient data to the cloud and instantly returning various health indicators. The benefit of such a system will have in an extremely inaccessible and rural landscape of the country where doctors are underserved is mind-boggling altering the healthcare ecosystem dramatically.
- As health is a State subject, integrating digital power will help governments to firmly establish decentralized tabs on the performances of districts, hospitals, and doctors. Seamless services can be guaranteed for sure. However, the pertinent question to ponder over here is whether the tottering healthcare infrastructure would supplement the intended digital makeover as planned by rising to the challenge adequately.
- The answer is sadly a big no. No need to look far as the country is frequently witnessing how the neglected health ecosystem has fared so far vis-à-vis combating the surging menace of novel coronavirus pandemic. No wonder, it is found wanting in many parameters as decades of negligence and failing to spruce up through sustained infusion of funds has severely undermined the efforts.
- Reams and reams have been written relentlessly on severe shortages of doctors, nurses, hospitals, diagnostic centers, beds, ICUs, and ambulances as the spending on healthcare as it stands presently at 1 percent of the GDP is not only grossly inadequate but also places the densely populated country like ours into an unimaginable crisis endangering the very sustenance of humanity.
- Progressive measures like digitalization could be a boon only if the equally crucial infrastructure is provisioned at the ground level. For this to fructify, it is incumbent on the part of governments to allocate reasonably adequate funds immediately. Once the funds provision is in place, the technology can seamlessly be integrated to accomplish the digital mission as well.