Before the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was already demanding for cutting-edge digital health systems. Some healthcare experts believe that global digital healthcare systems must be more comprehensive and open. Like other countries, India has also accepted this open-source model with open arms. In 2018, NITI Aayog had introduced a layout of the National Health Stack which is also a shared digital healthcare infrastructure designed with the vision to enforce the Center’s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat and various other public healthcare programs in India.
In simple terms, National Health Stack is an outstanding digital framework leveraged by the state as well as centers across the public and private sectors. It depicts a comprehensive platform that supports a myriad of health verticals and their various branches and is empowered to incorporate future IT solutions for the industry that await rapid, disruptive transformations, and unforeseen twists. When NHS was introduced in 2018, the goal to make digital health records for the people in India by the end of 2022 was earmarked.
What FICCI-BCG has to say about Health ODE?
In association with BCG, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) has introduced a widely analyzed report Leapfrogging to a Digital Healthcare System: Re-imagining Healthcare for Every Indian. This report is primarily focused on various aspects of the revolution that the fulfillment of an open digital healthcare ecosystem (ODE) will be introduced in India’s healthcare community. On 15th August 2020, Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the National Digital Health Mission, this revolution is assumed to be a reality soon, says FICCI-BIG report.
Establishing an Open Digital Healthcare Ecosystem in India
The government has brought several principles to establish an ODE in the country. The idea of such health ODE was already coined at the Sustainable Development Summit in 2015. Along with other United Nations member states, India also accepted the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development that contains the aim to accomplish universal health coverage by 2030. The National Health Policy was also introduced in 2017 that recognized the primary role that digitization can play in upgrading healthcare delivery in India.
It anticipates the making of the digital health ecosystem that severs the requirements of all healthcare stakeholders and enhances efficiency, transparency, and patient experience. In 2018, Niti Aayog tossed the idea of a National Health Stack on the basis of rules the same as India Stack. It called for developing various building blocks or common public goods for the establishment of different solutions in the healthcare sectors.
According to Niti Aayog’s recommendation, the government formulated a report in 2019 “National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB).” It showed an architectural layout for a broad, incorporated, and nationwide digital health ecosystem. With the PM launching NDHM on 15th August 2020, it is assumed that we are not far away from the moment when health ODE becomes a reality. NDHM will influence the implementation of NDHM and build a health ODE in India.
The primary mission of NDHM
The National Digital Health Mission Government entity imposed to integrate NDHM and health stack Sustainable Development Goals:
- Obtain universal health coverage with democratized access to quality healthcare
- National Health Policy summarizes a particular goal for accepting digital technologies, and build a strong foundation required to achieve it
- National health stack outlines primary elements for digital health
- Claims and coverage platform
- Electronic registries
- Federated PHR framework
- National Digital Health blueprint: Implementation guidelines for digital health; stratified framework relating to digital health infrastructure, standards & regulations, building blocks, for implementation
Same as UPI and India Stack concreted the way of making a cashless economy and enhanced financial incorporation, the analysts who made the report conclude that a health ODE implemented by NDHM will drive healthcare inclusion and create an advantage for all players in the ecosystem.
The three important aspects of Health ODE
The report points out that there are three aspects of Health ODE that will help in its creation, execution, and day-to-day activities.
- Digital platform:
These platforms will simplify co-creation for developing healthcare solutions for the healthcare industry. They will further contain three elements:
- The fundamental technology infrastructure like data exchanges, data sources, etc.
- A set of tools like open Application Program Interfaces (APIs), standards and protocols, etc., that will allow the best use of this technology infrastructure
- End-user solutions that will be made with the help of technology infrastructure and publicly available tools. Apps that bring doctors and patients together are a perfect example of these solutions
It contains three types of stakeholders:
- The builders that will develop the digital platforms and later use it to make new user-centric solutions
- The end-users who will leverage these solutions to offer or get health services
- The facilitators that will be authorized for financing, research, and governance, etc.
A set of rules that will regulate the ecosystem and assure data privacy, fair, and equitable access, and accountability of all stakeholders. These rules will also simply motivate the community to accept digital platforms.
The six pillars on which Digital Health Architecture stands
The FICCI-BIG report clearly states various building blocks of the fundamental technology infrastructure of the digital platforms that will allow a unified digital health ecosystem in India. Analysts mention there are six pillars on which NDHM’s digital health architecture stands:
- Personalized health identity: Single identifier to monitor individual across health providers and map digital health records
- Standardized health registries: An extraordinary identifier for all doctor/provider/drugs and other health data paradigm
- Federated health records: Health records to be stored in an organized manner with the help of a common schema for classification
- Coverage and claims platform: Digital claim processing to allow end-to-end standardization and transparency to stakeholders
- e-pharmacy network: The primary gateway and a fully integrated ecosystem of public and private end-user and provider apps
- Health data analytics: Combined data from all HIPs merged with advanced analytics tools for consolidated reports and research.
H-Connect fulfilling all the NDHM rules and regulations
Health Connect (H-Connect) is one of the products offered by leading tech consulting company, Krish Compusoft Services. It is a fully integrated cloud-based health platform that incorporates all the standardized healthcare integrators to accelerate healthcare data for generating a cooperative health wallet, offers Personal Health record to hospitals and patients, and health analytics. H-Connect for developed with a vision to create an eHealth wallet for all the citizens of India that stores all the health records of individuals. It also renders the EHR system connected with the eHealth wallet. H-Connect is also capable of creating a virtual emergency medical card for Indian citizens with all medical details.
In addition, it is also an online hospital management system which enables running hospitals, clinics, in-house radiology imagine centers & diagnostics centers, and in-house laboratory via internet or intranet. It also allows biometric registration of patients to offer unified health account.