Manoj Jhalani, Joint Secretary (Policy), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, in an interaction with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN) lays emphasis on promotion and adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) as it provides timely and improved quality of care to the patients avoiding any kind of duplication and saves cost. He also throws light on various other IT initiatives undertaken by the Government
The role of information technology in healthcare is vast therefore the Government has been working tirelessly since last two years to create an ecosystem which is paperless and cashless, and works electronically to offer services anytime anywhere. With the increasing penetration of mobile phones, the Health Department has introduced many mobile applications for the ease of citizens.
Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS): We have introduced an application Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) – a webenabled name based system to monitor and ensure delivery of full spectrum of services to all pregnant women and children. More than 16 crore pregnant women and children have been registered in the system since its inception and the database is constantly growing day after another.
Kilkari: We have also developed another application called Kilkari, which means a baby’s gurgle. It provides health advice through voice messages over mobile phones to pregnant women and mothers, according to the stage of pregnancy or age of the newborn child. Every week the pregnant women or the mother of an infant receives an audio message from one of the specialist doctors depending upon the stage of pregnancy or the age of the infant.
We are also planning to take up a large scale screening of citizens above 30 years age for Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), hypertension, diabetes and common cancer like oral cancers to create a database. Thereafter, we will create a system for follow ups for continuing care which will be reflected in EHR.
Electronic Health Records provide timely and improved quality of care to the patients avoiding any kind of duplication. It will also ensure privacy and security of patients’ data. With the permission of patients, the data can be transferred and transmitted to the doctors across facilities.
The Central Government has notified EHR standards and big work is going on in metadata and data standards. It would facilitate and help create applications which will be able to talk to each other. That apart, applications are also being developed in EHR having different facilities.
The Government has initiated NIKSHAY – a web based solution for monitoring of TB patients, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) to detect and respond to disease outbreaks quickly, Drug And Vaccine Distribution and Management Systems which is being implemented across 24 states, Hospital Management Systems, Telemedicine programmes and Teleradiology for facilitating radiodiagnostics, Teleopthalmology etc.
e-RaktKosh: We have launched a national application on blood bank called e-RaktKosh which captures all the data of blood banks in public and private sector. We are trying to integrate all the technologies into this application so that people can use it on their mobile and access the availability of blood of required blood group and different kind of blood resource.
We have a wide array of applications both with the Central Government and the state governments, and it touches the population anywhere between few lakh to 20 crores. But the major problem is that those hundreds of application have still not been integrated into the process workflow. This issue needs to be addressed at the earliest.