Healthcare Providers, Healthcare services, RS Sharma, National Digital Health Mission, medical records, Unified payments interface

The Centre is likely to launch the digital delivery of healthcare services together with private sector stakeholders within two years, ahead of which pilot programmes are underway in six Union territories, said National Health Authority chief executive RS Sharma.

“We are looking forward to implementing the National Digital Health Mission rigorously. We will be able to bring all stakeholders onto the platform in one to two years’ time, and are currently doing pilots in six Union Territories,” Sharma told ET.

“We have a registry of healthcare providers, hospitals and laboratories, and together with them, we can develop a platform for health services delivery to achieve the objective of the national digital health mission,” he said.

Such an initiative, he said, could allow private hospitals access to medical records and help them expand their reach and provide services to rural India without having any physical presence, creating a win-win situation for the government and the private sector.

The IT-focused national programme will have a capacity to conduct 500,000 consultations every day, and has already created nearly 200,000 unique IDs for pilots in Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Andaman & Nicobar, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Puducherry and Lakshadweep.

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the country’s poor healthcare infrastructure, with the daily infections surpassing 400,000 in the past few days. “We’ll do a lot of evangelising,” Sharma said, adding that the artefacts or electronic products such as Aadhaar, e-KYC, digital signatures and digital lockers together with a payment gateway like Unified Payments Interface could help create digital medical records.

Digital medical service delivery, he said, would be a paradigm shift in the healthcare sector, and that could open up new opportunities for private practitioners.


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