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Coming soon, a UPI moment in healthcare?

RS Sharma, Chief Executive, National Health Authority said that Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) has the potential to become a ‘UPI moment’ for healthcare in India by leveraging public goods like Aadhaar Unique Identification Number and Prepaid Digital Voucher (ERP).

ABDM, India’s National Digital Health Mission, can become a platform for digital health services of private companies, Sharma said, adding that the mission seeks to integrate and partner with startups in this area.

ABDM will initially create a health ID, which citizens can use to access medical records or seek health services. “I believe ABDM could be the UPI moment for healthcare. It has several general principles around interoperability, concurrency and security. The fact that health is a more complex issue makes the challenge even more interesting,” Sharma said in an interview.

ABDM hopes to create a platform for digital health through common standards and an open application programming interface (API), a software that allows two applications to talk to each other. The team working on the platform is in talks with multiple companies in the healthcare ecosystem to integrate their services.

Sharma, who previously headed the Unique Identification Authority of India, said the platform has “immense potential for change. The biggest use case, he says, is to create “longitudinal health records”, which can be used to protect citizens in case of physical harm. Access a copy of the medical record wherever they are.

The second use-case is where ABDM is taking on digital healthcare providers such as e-pharmacies and telemedicine startups. The National Health Authority (NHA) wants to open its platform to registered healthcare facilities, medical professionals and even pharmacy stores.

As the pandemic spread, states developed systems to provide real-time updates on the availability of hospital beds, ICUs or oxygen facilities. However, the lack of these facilities and the lack of bed booking options meant that the system did not work. However, for vaccination, CoWin became a one-stop system. Despite initial hiccups, it is now being used by other digital service providers to display available vaccination slots.

Sharma said he is hopeful that at some point, individuals will be able to seek the closest care, whether it is an emergency, a certain specialty, or the availability of beds, medicines, blood, get telemedicine consultations. . “The ultimate goal is to ensure wage loss and reduce out-of-pocket expenses,” he said.

The NHA is also planning to bring in private entities after setting up the network and defining the general rules. However, Sharma said that the platform will not compete with him. Ultimately, it will be the participating entities that will provide digital health services, he said.

“ABDM will network and provide a common set of rules that all participating will have to follow. This will complement the digital health services already being provided and help break down the segregation of silos, in which They are working,” Sharma said.

As the person in charge of the Aadhaar rollout, Sharma faced criticism over privacy issues. The boycott of social services due to lack of Aadhaar hurt India’s most vulnerable; In health care, the concerns are even more serious. But Sharma says people will have a complete choice as to which records they want to link or delete from their accounts. NewsBox9