NHA chief, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Centre aims to bring digital healthcare services soon: NHA chiefThe Centre is likely to launch the digital delivery of healthcare services together with private sector stakeholders within the next 1 to 2 years with pilot programs underway in as many as six Union Territories, a top government official said.

“We are looking forward to implementing the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) rigorously. Digital technologies have shown us the way. We will be able to bring all stakeholders onto the platform in 1 to 2 years’ time, and are currently doing pilots in six Union Territories,” Ram Sewak Sharma, chief executive of the National Health Authority (NHA) told ETTelecom.

“We are having a registry of healthcare providers, hospitals and laboratories, and together with them, we can develop a platform for health services delivery to achieve the objective of the national digital health mission,” the official said.

On August 15, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious nationwide health program, and said that the initiative will bring “revolution” in the healthcare sector, adding that one health ID would contain medical information of patients.

Sharma, further said that such an initiative could be a win-win situation where private hospitals would have an access to medical records, and would be able to increase their reach, and provide services to rural India without having any physical presence.

The IT-focussed national program has a capacity to conduct 500,000 consultations every day, and has already created nearly 200,000 unique IDs for pilots in Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Andaman & Nicobar, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Puducherry and Lakshadweep.

The second wave of contagious Covid-19 outbreak has, however, exposed the country’s poor healthcare infrastructure with the daily viral cases surpassing 300,000.

“We’ll do a lot of evangelising,” Sharma said, adding that the artefacts or electronic products such as Aadhaar, e-KYC, digital signatures and digital lockers together with payment gateway like Unified Payments Interface (UPI) could help in creating digital medical records.

Medical service delivery, according to him, would be a paradigm shift in the healthcare sector, and that could open up new opportunities for private practitioners.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s healthtech industry is likely to touch $5 billion (about Rs 37,500 crore) by 2023, according to a recent Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)-Praxis study.

The National Health Authority or NHA which is the implementing agency of the national health mission and prestigious Ayushman Bharat Yojna, said that the technology-backed intervention would boost vaccination initiative, and could effectively check a gap between demand and supply.

Sharma further said that a robust and scalable ICT system would establish eligibility, identity and priority to ensure safe dosage administration to eligible persons.

The agency’s CoWIN app operates and manages the nationwide Covid vaccination program with registrations for the third phase for those above 18 years of age, opening up from April 28.