National Digital Health Mission- Relevance for UPSC Exam
- GS Paper 2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.
- Important aspects of governance– e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.
National Digital Health Mission- Context
- Recently, the Prime Minister of India has announced the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) scheme.
National Digital Health Mission- Key Points
- About: under National Digital Health Mission, all citizens will have the option of voluntarily opting for a Health ID.
- Health ID: It is a 14-digit health identification number that will uniquely identify every citizen and will be a repository of their medical history.
- It will contain details of every test, every disease, the doctors visited, the medicines taken and the diagnosis.
- The Health ID can be created by using a person’s basic details and mobile number or Aadhaar number, and there will presumably be an app acting as a convenient interface.
- Benefits of health ID:
- Offers Portability: The doctor who is examining the patient can give more well-informed advice because s/he has complete access to patient history which was not possible earlier, leading to better diagnosis.
National Digital Health Mission- Associated Issues
- Issue of Privacy: A large amount of personal health data stored using health Id, could be misused, especially in the absence of privacy law and little public awareness and control over their data.
- Misuse by Insurance companies: Large private insurance companies could use sophisticated algorithms across the health and other databases to construct risk profiles for people and make access to affordable insurance difficult.
- Discrimination: Data mining can prioritize certain rich demographics for their services and direct public and private resources to people who can afford a high premium for their services rather than to those who need them but cannot pay as much.
Challenges of Healthcare in India
- Lack of affordable, high-quality health care in India: National Digital Health Mission does not provide a solution for these challenges of healthcare in India.
- Lack of an adequate number of hospitals: There are too few hospitals with trained staff to cater to all Indians as decades of research and the experience with the novel coronavirus pandemic has shown. The following are the challenges to expanding the healthcare system-
- India’s federal structure,
- The size of its population (a large rural one),
- The cost of researching, finding and buying appropriate drugs and treatment,
- Competing systems of medicine and the very challenging nature of health itself.
- For a digital health ecosystem to work, it is important that the fundamentals be fixed from the ground up.