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Health cards for all Delhi residents to be launched

The state government is likely to roll out its ambitious plan to issue QR code-based “health cards” to every resident of the national capital before the municipal corporation elections this April, senior government officials said on Sunday.

The health cards are a component of the state government’s Health Information Management System (HIMS) project, and leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which governs Delhi, said their launch ahead of the civic polls will be fairly significant.

The HIMS project envisages digital health cards that will record medical information, such as health check-ups, follow-ups, surgeries, medication, and vaccination details for each patient. The system will also include a cellphone application as well as a 24×7 call centre to help patients with health-related information, senior government officials said.

All Delhi residents aged 18 and above (roughly 15 million people according to the government’s recent estimates) will be eligible for the e-health cards. Details of those aged between one and 18 will be linked with the health cards of their parents, while infants’ information will be stored on their mother’s cards.

Residents will be allotted a temporary card for a year at first, and its details will be migrated to a permanent card within a year, after the state government completes all requisite verifications.

“All the officers are working around-the-clock to ensure that the project is completed as soon as possible to ensure better healthcare for residents,” the government said when asked about the status of the project.

A senior health official said an initial database for every card will be created through basic house-to-house surveys. “A part of such surveys was also carried out during Covid-19. So, some of the database is already in place. Once the basic database is ready, people can get it updated as and when they visit a Delhi government hospital,” the official said.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia announced the project, called the “Mukhyamantri Health Card Yojana”, during his budget speech in March 2020. At the time, the state allotted ₹70 crore for the project in the 2020-21 financial year. The state cabinet approved the programme in August 2021 and sanctioned ₹139 crore for the project, which will also bring all city hospitals under one platform and eliminate the need to wait in queues for appointments.

Private hospitals will also be connected to the system in phases.

“The project is likely to be one of the biggest announcements ahead of the MCD polls. The cards will not only have a resident’s complete demographic and clinical details, but will also contain details about the various government schemes they are eligible for. The cards will be issued based on voter IDs,” said a senior AAP leader who asked not to be named.

The municipal corporation polls are due to be held this April.

The e-health card will bear India’s state emblem at the top, followed by Delhi government logo. It will contain the cardholder’s name, their father’s name, date of birth, age, sex and address.

Dr Nikhil Modi, consultant, pulmonology and respiratory medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said the scheme is a good idea but it is better to start it as a pilot project first. “For instance, people given the task of updating health details should be properly aware of medical terminologies, allergies, side effects, medicines and so on. The state will have to ensure nobody misuses the card and fakes are not made. Otherwise, in a post-Covid scenario, such health cards are a boon…,” he said. The News Room India

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