When Covid-19 hit nearly two years back, it laid bare several lacunae of the healthcare system in India — poor hospital infrastructure, acute shortage of doctors, nursing staff and equipment, specialised treatment facilities particularly in primary healthcare centres in rural areas. While the newly launched digital health ID by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week, is not a panacea, it aims to bridge the gap between healthcare and technology for one and all.
On September 26, Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) — a nationwide digital health ID for all citizens. The initiative aims to serve as an online repository of health records, which will have unique identification and authentication.
Under the scheme, a unique 14-digit digital health ID will be provided to all Indian citizens, which will carry their health records. This means, all personal health records of a person — lab reports, prescriptions and diagnosis from several hospitals in different regions of the country — can be stored digitally and shown to any healthcare provider across the country with the consent of the patient.
The mission is akin to the Unified Payments Interface or UPI, as both aims to create interoperability. The UPI framework enables a person to transfer money from one entity to another irrespective of which bank the two entities have their accounts in. In the same manner a digital health ID will enable the movement of health information from one hospital/healthcare provider to another even if the two are connected to each other or not.
This will help doctors, hospitals and healthcare service providers, to make better and faster diagnoses as well as help enhance transparency in care delivery. People will get faster treatment at cheaper cost.
The health ID will ensure that health records are not lost, re-tests at a different hospital/ facility are not needed. Further, it will also fasten the process of purchasing and processing insurance claims.
So how to be part of the initiative?
It is not mandatory for citizens to be part of it, but as Modi said it has the “potential of bringing a revolutionary change in India’s healthcare facilities”.
One can obtain the 14-digit number after registering at the government ABDM portal. Citizens can also download the ABMD Health Records app on a phone.
The system will collect details including “demographic and location, family/relationship, and contact details” — all which can be updated easily.
The health ID can be availed using the Aadhaar number. The mobile number linked with the Aadhaar number will get a One Time Password. If the Aadhaar is not linked to the phone number, then one will have to visit a participating health facility to get a biometric authentication done.
The official site claims that the health ID can be linked with an Aadhaar or mobile number, but media reports cite that Aadhaar is not mandatory and a phone number is enough to generate a unique health ID.
Once the ID is generated, citizens can go to any healthcare provider, who is linked to ABDM. To know who is linked, one can visit the Health Facility Registry — a comprehensive repository of all the health facilities of the country across different systems of medicine.
Healthcare provider, linked to ABDM, will tag all the records created by that provider to your Health ID. If you want to share these records with another provider, share the Health ID. The second provider can access your records only if you grant approval, much like the UPI app (GPay, PhonePe, Paytm, etc). Here’s a link to create your Health ID — https://healthid.ndhm.gov.in/register
How HealthSafe can help you in this good health journey
While the ABDM interface is being built and healthcare providers familiarise themselves with the platform, HealthSafe through its Keypr solutions is democratising this space and making it exceedingly simple for patients to manage their health records. Keypr, as the name suggests is a ‘Keep your prescriptions and medical records safe’ application that users can download from the playstore and the app store and use for managing their entire medical history and also connect with doctors, allied health specialists, diagnostic laboratories, and pharmacists (chemists) for their healthcare requirements.
With a strong emphasis on the patient, the startup promises to provide highest levels of data safety and security and ease-of-use to patients, and also to caregivers who can remotely manage the health needs of their loved ones as well as benefit from community support in the Keypr discussion forum. HealthSafe also has tie-ups with several financing partners including medical insurance, crowdfunding and medical loan companies to provide resolution to the financial needs of patients thus completing the chain of events in a user’s healthcare journey.
HealthSafe stands to complement ABDM so that users can avail several of the above mentioned services including digitisation of their medical records, accessing healthcare providers and participating in community discussions from one unified interface. The platform aims to make one’s healthcare journey easy and fuss free, while taking into account the fact that empowered users make the best healthcare decisions.
Check out www.healthsafetoday.com to download the HealthSafe app and progress on your safe, secure and worry free healthcare journey.