India and the Netherlands have discussed a joint thrust in the e-health sector, with the purpose of providing digital health facilities and security to Indians and helping Netherlands to accelerate the digital transformation of health. Part of India’s ambitious National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), this collaboration will see the two countries work closely to create capacities and put in place the requisite technology backbone to enable this revolutionary initiative. The collaboration was discussed at length at a Web-based workshop hosted recently by management consultancy firm Primus Partners.
The NDHM was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address and aims to create a mechanism to improve care quality significantly and provide better access to healthcare.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to tap the growing potential of the digital health sector. NDHM is a revolutionary idea and vast in scope. Merging technology with traditional health knowledge is a novel idea,” Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Venu Rajamony, said. “Where the Netherlands comes in is not just as an economic partner, but also as a proponent of e-health. The Netherlands and Europe are world-leaders in this space and their experience will see India benefit tremendously as it rolls out this digital health initiative,” he added.
“This is path changing collaboration and in the best interests of patients in India and around the world. Healthcare is changing profoundly, and no institution or Government can achieve this transformation alone,” Marcel Floor, the Netherlands’ Counsellor for Health, Welfare and Sport, said. “Nations and institutions have to pool resources and the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world how to work together in an unprecedented manner. Indo-Dutch collaboration will see us work together to take quality healthcare to the masses.”
Open Digital Ecosystem (ODE) will drive healthcare transformation in India. This will include transparency of information with ‘health registries’ acting as the single source of information for all stakeholders. Ability of all stakeholders to use data interoperability between different stakeholders with appropriate consents, will allow patients to share their digital health records across providers. Further, standardized claim processing, digitized prescriptions and development of patient-centric innovations will improve healthcare in India.
J Satyanarayana, Chairman, National Digital Health Blueprint Committee, said the collaboration with the Netherlands was only the first step in building a digital health backbone in the country. “We finalized the NDHM blueprint late last year and are now embarking on a pilot implementation. We are using a federated architecture model to set and follow global standards in this initiative. We started small and intend to scale things up quickly with the learnings of the pilot.”
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said: “GoI has already embarked on a journey towards creating a national level Digital Health Ecosystem integrating in its ambit a multitude of ongoing efforts. The National Digital Health Blueprint provides for the architectural approach towards realising the goal of longitudinal electronic health record. A mission mode approach is being followed through the launch of National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) in that direction. The activities have already been embarked in selected Union territories under pilot phase. He highlighted the need for deepening the ongoing collaboration with Netherland on the issue.”
The vision of the National Digital Health Mission is to create a national digital health ecosystem which provides timely and efficient access to inclusive, affordable, and safe healthcare to all citizens. NDHM will significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health service delivery and will be a major stride towards achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Universal Health Coverage.
“The digital health sector in India is growing at an 18 per cent Compounded Annualized Growth Rate (CAGR) and is expected to touch billions of dollars in the ongoing year itself. We are delighted that India and the Netherlands are partnering in this initiative and we thank His Excellency, the Ambassador, Mr Rajamani, for joining us in this endeavor,” Nilaya Varma, CEO & Co-Founder, Primus Partners.
“We have already received over 58 business proposals over 18 business sectors and the Indo-Dutch collaboration will only see these numbers go up,” Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest India, said. “The ability of businesses, startups and MSMEs to pivot according to the changing landscape and grow is tremendous. Today, India stands at a critical inflection point in its history, driven by the digitization program unveiled by the Prime Minister. There is a massive change in pace and scale of growth today.”