Cabinet approves national roll out of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

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Cabinet approves national roll out of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the national roll-out of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) with a budget of ₹1,600 crore for five years.
  • It was highlighted by the Central government that digital health solutions across the healthcare ecosystem have proven to be of immense benefit over the years
  • Initiatives like CoWIN, Arogya Setu and e-Sanjeevani have demonstrated the role technology can play in enabling access to healthcare
  • The need to integrate such solutions for continuum of care and effective utilisation of resources was also emphasised

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)

  • It is a central sector scheme
  • It is being implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare
  • The National Health Authority (NHA) will be the implementing agency of this mission
  • Citizens will be able to create their ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) numbers under it
  • The digital health records of citizens can be linked through these numbers
  • This will enable creation of longitudinal health records for individuals across various healthcare providers and improve clinical decision making by healthcare providers.
  • This mission is expected to improve equitable access to quality healthcare by encouraging use of technologies such as telemedicine
  • It will enable national portability of health services
  • The pilot of this mission was completed in the six Union Territories of Ladakh, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep

Significance of ABDM

  • It will facilitate evidence-based decision making for effective public health interventions
  • It will catalyse innovation in the healthcare system
  • It will generate employment across the healthcare ecosystem

Benefits of the mission

  • Integrated digital health system will be created
  • Patients will not be harassed by different hospitals for doing same tests again and again
  • Digital health id will eliminate the need to carry medical reports for the patient
  • Enabling of ease of doing business for doctors and hospitals and healthcare service providers

Associated concerns

  • Personal data safety: as the country do not have a Personal Data Protection Act in place so there will be issue of Personal data safety of citizens
  • Exclusion of citizens and denied healthcare due to faults in the system are also a cause of concern
  • Data literacy: as most of the Indians are not well versed with technology so it will create a hurdle in implementation of the mission

Way forward

  • As India is embracing its journey towards “Digital India”, the government should focus on securing the personal data of the citizens which is most vulnerable in the age of cybersecurity breaches.
  • A Personal Data Protection Law will be a strong step in this direction. The government should also focus on synchronisation of government schemes like Ayushman Bharat Yojana and other IT-enabled schemes like Reproductive Child Health Care and NIKSHAY etc with Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission