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Indian government braces for a nationwide rollout of its health digitisation project

Since its launch last year, the NDHM has progressed through various consultations with stakeholders and a pilot programme.

The central government’s health digitisation project, the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), is in for some key developments. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be launching the project nationwide on September 27, as part of the National Health Authority’s 3-day ‘Aarogya Manthan’ event. The event’s agenda also revealed that a year after its launch, the NDHM has been renamed to Aayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).

The NDHM is a multi-layered digital health infrastructure that is proposed by the government to generate longitudinal electronic health records, issue Aadhaar-linked unique health IDs, and develop databases consisting of all healthcare professionals and health facilities. The NDHM has led to several privacy concerns and has also run into controversy for reported instances of individuals being coerced into signing up for the project.

What exactly is being rolled out nationwide?

After its launch in August 2020, the NDHM was implemented as a pilot in 6 Union Territories: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Ladakh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Puducherry, and Chandigarh. The 2020 launch included three building blocks of the NDHM – Unique Health IDs, Healthcare Professionals Registry, and Health Facility Registry. While the mission is going to be rolled out nationwide, it is not clear which components of the NDHM will be included this time around.

MediaNama has reached out to the NHA for comment and will update the report when we receive a response.

The NDHM’s progress so far

Since its launch, the NDHM has had over 14 lakh enrolments through its pilot while another 11 crore individuals were enrolled through India’s vaccine management platform CoWIN. State governments like Odisha and Bihar have also started their own pilots along similar lines. The Tamil Nadu government is planning to establish a population Health Registry and issue Unique Health IDs (UHID) to residents of the state.

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Meanwhile, the NHA has also released consultation papers and blueprints for various parts of the health mission and invited comments from the public on the following building blocks of the NDHM:

The NHA is also expected to release more information on its policies for Health Information Sharing and Exchange, use of health data, drug registry, and so on.

Update: An earlier version of the story misstated the new name of the mission. This has been rectified following the issuance of a press release by the government.

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Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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