Health Policy

IAMI emphasises need for utilising UID in healthcare

The Indian Association for Medical Informatics (IAMI), established in 1993 for promoting and furthering the application of information and communication technology in the field of healthcare, has prepared a list of recommendations to be presented to the Unique Identification Authority of India regarding the potential of using the Unique Identifier (UID) as a Unique Health Identifier (UHID).

According to IAMI, healthcare IT systems suffer from a fundamental problem that is not allowing the industry to extract maximal benefit out of it. The reason for this is the inherent inability of disparate systems from multiple vendors to identify the same patient accurately at all times. While most of the systems use an identifier within their own solutions that are reasonably able to identify the patients fairly accurately, when these systems exchange information with other solutions, more often than not, they miserably fail to do so.

Healthcare IT segment has forever lamented the lack of a common identifier that would make Electronic Health Records (EHR) a reality and deliver on all its lofty promises. While in an ideal world a universal identifier would have been present already, having a national identifier is the next best alternative.  Once the identifier is available, all healthcare IT system manufacturers should make the UID as either their primary or their alternate identifier. The UID should be the principal identifier to identify a particular patient across all systems where his healthcare data exists. To this purpose, every e-health solution must expose this identifier to external systems.

The UIDAI is requested to take cognisance of the importance that UID has in the area of healthcare and actively work with the healthcare community to ensure that the UID is practical and usable as UHID. To this end, IAMI would like to help the Government, UIDAI and its chairman Shri Nandan Nilekani in this effort and it would like to assure the aforementioned competent authorities of every possible support in this great and magnificent effort.

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