Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Digital Health Mission earlier today while addressing the nation from Delhi’s iconic Red Fort on the occasion of India’s 74th Independence Day.
Stating that the “completely technology-based” initiative would turn around the health sector, the Prime Minister explained every Indian would get an ID card that would contain all relevant information about his medical condition.
“Every Indian will get a Health ID card. Every time you visit a doctor or a pharmacy, everything will be logged in this health card. From the doctor’s appointment to the medication advised, everything will be available in your health profile,” PM Modi said.
According to the government, the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), which comes under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), is expected to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health services in the country.
Under the scheme, each patient will be given an ID card on which confidential medical data, such as prescriptions, diagnostic reports, and discharge summaries, will be stored.
Patients will give their doctors, or health providers, one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital or for consultation. With fears over data confidentiality a concern, the government said access to medical data will have to be given separately for each visit.
The NDHM will also allow patients to access health services remotely – through teleconsultation and e-pharmacies, as well as offer other health-related benefits.
The focus on tele-medicine and offering health services digitally comes amid a coronavirus pandemic that has infected nearly 25 lakh people, of whom over 48,000 have died.
Hygiene protocols in place to minimize the spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 virus include maintaining at least six-feet from each other.
This places added emphasis on the need to be able to provide health services, particularly for patients suffering from diseases other than COVID -19 while maintaining social distance.
During his speech the Prime Minister also paid tribute to medical workers on the frontline of the battle against the COVID virus.
“On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank the efforts of all corona-warriors. All those healthcare workers, doctors, and nurses, who have worked tirelessly to serve the nation,” the Prime Minister said, adding, “In this corona crisis, many families have been affected, many have lost their lives (but) with the resolve of 130 crore Indians, we will defeat this”.