In his seventh Independence Day speech from the Red Fort last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) as a unified healthcare programme under which the government will issue a digital health ID for every Indian citizen. The 14-digit health ID will serve as a unique identifier and allow individuals in the country to provide access and share their health data with participating healthcare providers, insurance companies, and more. But how is the government planning to assign digital health IDs to all the citizens of the country? Also, what should be the steps you can take to create your health ID?
Here are 10 important points to understand what the digital health ID is all about.
- The government has initially rolled out digital health IDs in six union territories in the country, namely Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry. This means that only citizens living in these territories can generate their health ID cards directly from the dedicated portal provided by the National Health Authority.
- For generating a new health ID card, you need to provide either your Aadhaar card number or mobile phone number. The portal will ask for your basic details such as your name, date of birth, state, and gender once you’ve provided your Aadhaar or mobile phone number. You’ll also be required to create an alias on the NDHM portal along with a password that can be used for signing in the future and omits the process of keeping the 14-digit health ID card number handy all the time.
- Apart from the dedicated portal, public hospitals, community health centres, health and wellness centres across India, and any other healthcare provider who is a part of the National Health Infrastructure Registry will be able to help you create your health ID card.
- In case of new-borns and children below 18 years, parents have been provided with the ability to create a health ID card on behalf of their children. Individuals creating digital health IDs have also provided the option to add a nominee to view and help manage their records.
- On the part of benefits, the digital health ID will be used as a one-stop access through which you can provide all your health records to any of your doctors and healthcare centres. It will allow the government to keep a record of your information “right from admission to treatment and discharge” in the cloud. There are also plans to use the health ID for offering facilities such as telemedicine and e-pharmacies. Moreover, insurance companies would be able to get health details of their clients directly through their digital health IDs.
- The government claims that it has built a consent-based access mechanism through which citizens can hide certain information from healthcare bodies by enabling only partial consent. Also, the registered doctors and healthcare providers who are granted consent by the citizens will be able to look at their available health information. The NHDM portal is also said to encrypt entered information before its transmission and receipt.
- Unlike Aadhaar that doesn’t have an option to let individuals exit the unique identification system except children below 18 years, digital health IDs are available under a voluntary opt-in system that has a door for opting out as well. The government has also provided an option in the initial model to let participants request for erasing their data.
- The digital health ID system is led by the government’s National Health Authority (NHA) that also administers the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Thus, people availing health facilities by the NHA would soon start getting digital health IDs. The ability to opt-out from the new development would, however, continue to be provided.
- At present, there is no option for citizens creating their digital health IDs to digitise their old paper records. The government, however, has plans to bring an option to let people upload their paper records under their health IDs.
- The government will also develop a National Policy on Security of Health Records to handle personal health records stored under the digital health IDs.
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