PM Narendra Modi launches Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission to provide digital health IDs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission to provide digital health ID to citizens, and connect digital health solutions of hospitals across the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) today. Under this, every citizen will get a digital health ID that will record and protect health records.

“Today, we are launching a mission that has the potential of bringing a revolutionary change in India’s health facilities,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

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He explained that Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will connect digital health solutions of hospitals across the country with each other. It will simplify hospital processes and also enhance the ease of living.

According to the official statement, the initiative is aimed at building a seamless online platform that will enable interoperability within the digital health ecosystem.

He explained that the way technology is being deployed in governance reforms is unprecedented, and that digital infrastructure is bringing everything — from “ration to administration (Ration to Prashasan) to the Indian citizens in a fast and transparent manner.”

The prime minister noted that India currently has 130 crore Aadhaar numbers, 118 crore mobile subscribers, about 80 crore internet users, and about 43 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts. He claimed that there isn't such a big connected health infrastructure anywhere in the world.

The pilot project of ABDM was launched last year on August 15.  

“Healthcare solutions brought by the government are a big investment in the present and future of the country,” PM Modi said.

Indian healthcare industry welcomes the move

Welcoming the move, Sohit Kapoor, Co-founder of Driefcase, explained that the move will be revolutionary in terms of how healthcare is delivered in India. Mumbai-based health data analytics platform DRiefcase is the first health locker to be integrated with ABDM. 

“We believe that the success of ABDM depends on patient participation and health lockers will be the focal point of patient participation. DRiefcase has been a pioneer in this space. We have been trying to create this category for a long time, and are very well-positioned to leverage this opportunity,” he adds.

He also explained that maintaining electronic health records will also help in diagnosis as patients will now be able to maintain a record of their health conditions. It will also eventually help in providing health trends data to the patients.

Meanwhile Dr Harshit Jain, Founder and Global CEO, Doceree explained that the unique health ID will make it possible for people to get access to quality healthcare facilities.

“With an interoperable health environment, patients will now be able to upload and access securely their health records, which could be exchanged smoothly between patients and doctors upon the former’s consent. The Unique Health ID will make it possible for people of the country to avail quality care and gain better access to healthcare facilities. In the later phases, the plan is also to integrate telemedicine and e-pharmacy, which will bring in a lot more inclusivity. The creation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) will play a crucial role in transforming the way healthcare is delivered in the country. This is an important milestone that marks democratisation of healthcare in a true sense,” he added.

Digitisation in the healthcare segment was already underway. The shift, however, bolstered amid the COVID-19 breakout.

Prime Minister Modi revealed that India recorded an unprecedented growth in the telemedicine sector amid the pandemic. 

“So far, about 125 crore remote consultations have been completed through e-Sanjeevani. This facility is connecting thousands of countrymen living in far-flung parts of the country every day with doctors of big hospitals of cities while sitting at home,” said the Prime Minister.

Speaking about the development, Saurabh Arora, Founder and CEO, Lybrate said that this initiative will direct the Indian healthcare sector towards digitisation.

“The creation of integrated digital health infrastructure in the country had become all the more crucial after the COVID-19 outbreak and the launch couldn’t have come at an appropriate time than this. Integrating telemedicine in the system going ahead will further revolutionise healthcare in India, where availing quality healthcare, especially in rural areas, is still a massive challenge. With this, the government has embarked on a journey of creating a healthy India,” Saurabh explained.

Building a holistic health model

While speaking at the digital launch, PM Modi also revealed that India is working on building a health model that is holistic and inclusive.

He revealed that a comprehensive network of AIIMS and other health institutions is being established across country. He also revealed that India is currently working on establishing one medical college every three Lok Sabha constituencies

Apart from this, primary health centre networks and wellness centres are being strengthened.

“More than 80 thousand such centres have already been operationalised,“ said the Prime Minister.

Apart from this, PM Modi also revealed that Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna) which was launched in 2018 to provide accessible and affordable healthcare, has helped more than two crore citizens who availed the facility of free treatment under this scheme. 

Edited by Kanishk Singh