Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)

In today’s edition of the Current Affairs Dialog box, we will talk about Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. 

The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) aims to develop the backbone necessary to support the integrated digital health infrastructure of the country. It will bridge the existing gap amongst different stakeholders of Healthcare ecosystem through digital highways. This is what you will come across on the official website of ABDM when you open it. 

The topic should be studied properly during the UPSC exam preparation as it has relevance in the UPSC CSE syllabus in the following ways: 

For Prelims: About Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, National Health Authority, ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account).

For Mains: Significance and challenges of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.

Click here if you missed yesterday’s edition of Current Affairs Dialog Box. 

Why in the News?

The National Health Authority has announced the integration of its flagship Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission with the Aarogya Setu app, allowing users to create the 14-digit unique Ayushman Bharat Health Account numbers from the app.

Probable Question

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) is visionary and can be the much-needed digital intervention to improve healthcare access in India. What can be the key challenges in proper implementation of this scheme?

About Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)

  • Aim: Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is aimed at improving equitable access to quality healthcare by encouraging the use of technologies such as telemedicine and enabling national portability of health services.
  • It will create a seamline online platform through the provision of a wide range of data, information and infrastructure services. 

Key Features

  • Digital Health ID: Under the ABDM, citizens will be able to create their ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) numbers, to which their digital health records can be linked. 
  • A unique health ID will be a randomly generated 14-digit identification number. 
  • The Health ID will give the user unique identification, authentication and will be a repository of all health records of a person.
  • As on 24th February 2022, 17,33,69,087 Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts have been created and 10,114 doctors and 17,319 health facilities have been registered in ABDM.
  • Personal Health Records (PHR) address: The beneficiary will also set up a Personal Health Records (PHR) address for the issue of consent, and for future sharing of health records.
  • Easy Access to Health History: Under the mission, users can access and link personal records with their unique ID to create a longitudinal health history.
  •  Creation of Digital Ecosystem: The Mission will create a Digital Ecosystem which will provide a host of facilities like digital consultation, consent of patients in letting medical practitioners access their records.
  • Implementation: The National Health Authority (NHA) will be the implementing agency of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).

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Significance

  • It will bridge the existing gap amongst different stakeholders of the Healthcare ecosystem through digital highways.
  • It will enable individuals to discover hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies across the country.
  • It will “increase the ease of living” along with “simplifying the procedures in hospitals”.
  • ABDM will not only facilitate effective public health interventions but will also catalyse innovation and generate more jobs.

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Challenges

  • There are several concerns regarding health IDs, especially with data stored at a central location.
  • The lack of a data protection bill could lead to the misuse of data by private firms and bad actors. 
  • Although ABHA is presently voluntary, there are high chances that it will be made mandatory for accessing some services, similar to the trajectory of Aadhaar. This may lead to Exclusion of citizens and denied healthcare.

Conclusion

  • Digital health solutions across the healthcare ecosystem have proven to be of immense benefit over the years, with CoWIN, Arogya Setu and eSanjeevani further demonstrating the role that the technology can play in enabling access to healthcare. 
  • However, there is a need to integrate such solutions for continuum of care, and effective utilization of resources.
About NHA

National Health Authority (NHA) is the apex body responsible for implementing India’s flagship public health insurance/assurance scheme called “Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)”.

It has been entrusted with the role of designing strategy, building technological infrastructure and implementation of “National Digital Health Mission” to create a National Digital Health Eco-system.

Key responsibilities of NHA under ABDM:

Administrative and technical leadership to the National Digital Health Mission.
Development of models for self-financing of National Digital Health Mission.
Management of day-to-day operations of ABDM.
Capacity building of various stakeholders for health informatics.

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