Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission: A Paradigm Shift In The Way Healthcare Will Be Delivered In India

<p>Recently, I had the honor and privilege of participating in the panel discussion on the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), and it was indeed a learning experience, interacting with the industry stalwarts. What I learned absolutely blew my mind away, and it gave me a sense of pride that India is now at the helm of a major revolution in the healthcare sector.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)</span></h2><p>ABDM is an integral part of the Ayushman Bharat Health Scheme, whose major goals are comprehensive primary healthcare services to everyone and insurance coverage for 40% of the population for secondary and tertiary healthcare.&nbsp;</p><p>The pilot project has been implemented in Uttar Pradesh and has been highly successful. Based on the socioeconomic database, the centrally sponsored flagship scheme series aims to provide annual health coverage for up to five lakhs to nearly ten crore vulnerable families i.e., 50 crore people. Consequently, 1.5 lakh wellness centers are being planned, which are almost 75 to 100 % complete.</p><p>The ABDM is set to change the way healthcare is provided in India. While digitalization has been highly successful in developed nations and is routine practice, an initiative of this magnitude entails the involvement of several stakeholders, starting from the government, policymakers, private health providers, allied private entities like health tech companies, doctors, NGOs, and various administrators like program managers, regulators.&nbsp;</p><p>When the Aadhaar card was initiated more than ten years back, there were many apprehensions about the success of the initiative, considering that India is such a huge, diverse nation, which comes with its own set of challenges of implementation, considering that most of our population still lives in the rural areas and access to technology is limited.&nbsp;</p><p>UPI gateways have become a common sight thanks to the explosion of the internet and the acceptability of mobile phones. We have a person selling vegetables at the street corner who will accept UPI payment if you don&rsquo;t have cash. The JAM, which is Aadhaar, UPI, and mobile phone, has made all this possible, even in remote locations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Digitalization in Healthcare</span></h2><p>Digitalization is operational in the current AB-PMJAY and is helping identify beneficiaries, facilitate discharges, and drive the Jan Aushadhi initiative. The Jan Aushadhi initiative makes quality drugs available at affordable prices through dedicated stores selling generic medicines that are available at lesser prices but are equivalent in quality and efficacy to expensive branded drugs.</p><p>The main aim of ABDM is to improve efficiency, accessibility, inclusiveness, and security, while saving time and money in meeting healthcare needs, and comes with many advantages, namely:</p><ul><li>Having a single database for health records</li><li>Making information available that will be of tremendous value for research</li><li>With data, non-communicable diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, strokes, etc., can be studied</li><li>Pandemics can be predicted so that the country is better prepared to treat them</li><li>Research in clinical sciences, bio-medical sciences, and other fields can be conducted</li><li>Lower the treatment costs due to early treatment</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The future of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ABDM</a> &nbsp;seems bright in India as we move towards the Unique Health ID, digital health records, and registry of doctors and health facilities which is the single source of truth. This will help digitalize insurance claims and facilitate faster payments.&nbsp;</p><p>In addition, setting KPIs and monitoring them will become easier. At hospitals in Singapore, wearable devices help monitor and diagnose health conditions like heart attacks, thus leading to earlier treatment.</p><p>Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), Block Chain, and Cloud Computing are the newer things that are coming up. With the development of a holistic digital ecosystem, equitable access to healthcare which was once a dream, can become a reality.&nbsp;</p><p>The public-private partnership can be of immense value for providing specialized treatments in remote areas with the advent of teleconsultation, telemedicine, and remote monitoring. The ABHA health card and ABHA mobile app are some of the few things which will make healthcare convenient and user-friendly.</p><p>Despite the numerous advantages, there are some challenges pertaining to the implementation and the chief being due to data security, data privacy, integration of ABDM software with hospital software along with the technical challenges of implementation. Faster payments, better packages, and assurance of data security can help address some of the concerns of private partners. It is also important to increase the involvement of the private health sector and incentivize it to increase the success rate of this initiative.&nbsp;</p><p>Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) will change how healthcare is provided in India. As more and more hospitals embrace this initiative, healthcare quality is likely to improve many folds, and care will become more equitable. Yes, there are numerous challenges for the implementation, and we are far from the goal. We have started the journey with baby steps, and with the resilience, tenacity, and involvement of the stakeholders, these challenges can be tackled one by one.&nbsp;</p><p>A nation&rsquo;s success is measured if the least common denominator has access to good healthcare, and with ABDM, we are moving towards our goal of a healthy nation!!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dr. Shabana Khan</a></em></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Dr. Shabana Khan</span></h3><h3>&nbsp;</h3><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What are the domains of the digital health Framework?</span></h2><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The main aim of ABDM is to improve efficiency, accessibility, inclusiveness, and security. It comprises six key building blocks &mdash; Health ID, Digi Doctor, Health Facility Registry, Personal Health Records, e-Pharmacy and Telemedicine.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What is the NDHM Sandbox?</span></h2><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The government has also developed the &ldquo;NDHM Sandbox Environment&rdquo; to promote innovation and participation and build trust. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The sandbox environment has been designed as a closed ecosystem. This system allows testing the technologies or products in the contained environment as per the NDHM standards. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The testing helps the public and private organizations who intend to be part of the NDHM ecosystem to become health information providers or health information users.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What are the challenges in implementing the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission?</span></h2><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">There are some challenges in the implementation and the chief being due to data security, data privacy, integration of ABDM software with hospital software, and the technical challenges of implementation.&nbsp;<br />Also, the performance of ABDM in the private sector can be challenging due to financial and technical feasibility issues. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">It is essential to increase the involvement of the private health sector and incentivize private partners to improve the success rate of this initiative. Faster payments, better packages, and assurance of data security can help address some of the concerns of private partners.&nbsp;<br /></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Shabana Khan

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