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Embracing NDHM: The Scope and Challenges

panel ndhm

Eminent experts deliberated on the basic principles of creating an integrated digital health infrastructure, the initial pitfalls needs to address and how it can revolutionize the health ecosystem of the country, during a panel discussion on ‘Embracing NDHM: The Scope and Challenges’ at 2nd edition of the Healthcare Transformation Summit.

Giving her thought on implementation of NDHM in Puducherry and underlining the importance of data, Padma Jaiswal, Secretary to Government (Economics and Statistics), Department of (Economics and Statistics) Government of Puducherry, said: “We are collecting data of survey of entire department. The department is also responsible for implementation of AI and ML in UT of Puducherry. NDHM is an offshoot of Ayushman Bharat Jan Aarogya Scheme. It is mainly for the digitization and delivery of health services for common citizens through IT platform. Ayushman Bharat Scheme was very successful in the UT of Puducherry.”

“We also built so much data through the scheme. Niti Aayog has made an announcement on implementation of NDHM under where data will be stored of all the stakeholders of health department in digitized form. Union Territories have been selected for the implementation of this project. My department has been a key stakeholder in implementing NDHM in Puducherry on pilot basis,” she said.

Technology is the tool to aid the implementation. It is the backend where people have to work in medical field, said K Madangopal, Senior Consultant, Niti Aayog.

“If we have to implement the technology, we have to see how the practice is built into the technology and how it aids in the practice. That’s kind of synchronization should be there to leverage technology in best manner. In NDHM, we envisage to digitalize entire ecosystem. Healthcare system has evolved over the years. The system has quite resilient. We have to see how we can build on the system rather than creating parallel system. We are aiming at continuum of care. Health and wellness centres would act like gatekeeper to screen people. Unless practioners are convinced that technology is useful, there is no point in adoption to bolster care system,” he said.

Also read: NDHM: Beckoning quality universal healthcare in India

Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO, NABH termed NDHM a revolutionary step. “It is digital backbone of the healthcare infra within the country. It’s a step towards self reliant India (Aatmnirbhar Bharat). We are into accreditation standards from past 15 years. With every new challenge, comes lots of responsibility also. We need to integrate the healthcare in a very structured manner. Issues like inter operability, consent, information gathering, privacy, and data security, all those need to be standardized. NDHM will help to reach out to masses in tier-2, 3 cities. Ensuring privacy security and data protection are important aspects. Pharma and Ayush component also need to be integrated. We are currently running 21 programmes. There are industry standards, but we need our own standards,” he said.

Dr. K. Hari Prasad, President – Hospitals Division, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Limited, said: “Every challenge is an opportunity. Healthcare is very fragmented in the country. Over 95 percent healthcare is provided by unorganized sector which includes allopathic practioners, quality healthcare providers of traditional medicine, and quacks. A study says that 75 percent of healthcare in the rural India is being provided by quacks. Digidoctor and healthcare facility registry are part of NDHM. It aims to consolidating the entire medical fraternity and create an online platform which will help a common man to choose a right doctor and institution based on credible information. There is huge trust deficit between health provider and community.”

Abhishek Kumar, Executive Director, IT, AB PM-JAY said that NDHM intends to change entire healthcare landscape of the country.

He said: “Both Ayushman Bharat and National Digital Health Mission are being implemented by NHA. NDHM has been established to build National Digital Health Ecosystem. Presently entire healthcare ecosystem across the country is in fragmented state. It intends to change entire healthcare landscape of the country. As on date, various hospitals, health schemes, labs, and states are working in silo. An interoperable national digital health ecosystem is needed. There are key steps to implement NDHM. First we should be able to identify all the stakeholders or players in healthcare ecosystem.”

“In NDHM, we are creating two things—Health ID of every individual and registering of all the entities operating in health ecosystem. In any digital system, unless we are able to uniquely identify the identities, we can’t establish an interoperable system. For inter operability, it is essential that various system, software, health IT-enabled systems must comply with certain standards. There are two type of standards—technology and data standards. NDHM seeks to promote those standards,” he further stated.

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