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Govt’s new health programme will enable all citizens to get treated anywhere

National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) will be a game changer

India’s National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) will lead to “extraordinary portability” enabling all its citizens to be treated anywhere in the country, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said. The programme will also give access to telemedicine even at the 150,000 health and wellness centres that are coming up under the Ayushman Bharat scheme as part of providing Universal Health Coverage for all.

According to the NDHM ‘health domain principles’, ‘NDHM will have a national footprint and will enable seamless portability across the country through a health ID – personal health identifier, with supporting blocks, including adoption of Health Information Standards will play a pivotal role in national portability’.

Speaking at a webinar on the theme ‘Digitalisation and Development: Reflections from Asia’, Kumar said, “NITI Aayog is looking closely at the establishment of the NDHM that is added on to the digi-stack. We have already got digi-lockers and online education going in a massive way. But the NGHM, like we did in the case of the ration card of one-card-one-nation, will allow for extraordinary portability to all our citizens so that they can be treated anywhere in the country and get access to telemedicine, which is something that we are now pushing forward in a big manner.” The webinar was organised by the think-tank RIS, in collaboration with OECD Development Centre and ERIA, Jakarta.

Kumar added that the 150,000 health and wellness centres, being established under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, will be equipped with telemedicine capabilities so that the patients don’t have to physically go to the medical service providers.    

He said the government was also encouraging use of technology for efficient agriculture in a manner that helps in conserving water and help the country ensure a balance between development and environment rather than them being treated as trade-offs.