Naveen Jain, Mission Director (NHM), Secretary to Government, Medical, Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of Rajasthan
In the last few years, IT in the health sector has been a major focus of the healthcare industry and is bound to continue as the industry strives to automate medical records, improve electronic reporting, simplify daily work flows, and increase cost savings by streamlining work efforts. Therefore, IT is a promising tool in healthcare that can provide new ways to healthcare providers to collect, store, retrieve, and transfer information electronically. In this regard, National Health Mission (NHM) in Rajasthan has taken up few e-initiatives and implemented them successfully.
There is always a growing need to make affordable health services for the masses and in Rajasthan, the population at large hugely depends upon the government sector for getting free or subsidized health services. Rajasthan is the largest state from the geographical area point of view and providing quality health services to the people becomes a huge challenge. Normally, use of IT and concept of e-Governance is taken as a fancy item as far as government is concerned but in view of geographical diversity and huge population use of IT becomes a necessity for us. Rajasthan has used IT at its best for making available the limited health services to the population at large spread over a huge area.
Pregnancy and child tracking is the biggest requirement to manage MMR and IMR in the state and Rajasthan has evolved PCTS software where data is fed into this across the whole state in order to get important information and to make informed decisions. PCTS has huge data containing progress on many RCH activities like ante natal checkups, institutional deliveries, immunization, and family welfare activities. With this, there is a Health Management Information System (HMIS), which is the portal to capture various statistical reports to give out analytical statistics. This is useful for many policy decisions. PCTS and HMIS are commonly used terms in the state now.
Rajasthan was the second state in the country to initiate a free medicine scheme and through e-Aushodhi software, transparency and optimum utilization of funds was ensured. e-Aushodhi, a web-based application has been freely customized for use in more than 16,000 drug distribution centers. As a result, incidents of stock outs and expired drugs have been controlled greatly.
Rajasthan was infamous for female foeticide but in recent years implementation of the PC PNDT Act has attracted the attention of the entire country. Here, also Integrated System for Monitoring of PCPNDT Act (IMPACT) software has facilitated an online surveillance system over registered sonography centers and it also provides a mechanism for keeping a watch on probability of sex determination through sonography tests. Another tool, ASHA–Soft, has been one of the biggest success of recent years where more than 45,000 ASHAs are getting their payments through DBT online into their bank accounts. Rajasthan has also attempted online payments to mothers on birth of their child in a government facility. Although it was a huge task looking at 17 lac births per year but Rajasthan came out with flying colors in this gigantic task.
This is not the end of the story as many national programs like RBSK and Bio-Medical Management and Maintenance System have been connected to a robust IT system in order to make use of the data to make services accessible to the real beneficiaries. e-Upkaran, an IT intervention program has been developed for making available a platform where complaints can be registered regarding malfunctioning or non-functioning of bio-medical equipment. The vendor company takes the complaints and within 4 days complaints are redressed.
There is one another interesting use of IT in the form of Aarogya Online. It is an e-Health initiative implemented in all the district hospitals and around 200 CHCs. It provides streamlined work flow operation and creates a platform for information exchange. Due to this quality of patient care is enhanced and there is an optimum utilization of limited resources available. By using Aarogya Online, we can say data of OPD and IPD registers, tests done, and also diagnostic reports of all patients are made available at certain institutions.
IT no doubt provides benefits of limited resources to many and the Medical and Health Department of Rajasthan through NHM has proved this point beyond doubt.