National Digital Health Mission: NDHM Full Form, Features and Scope

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) builds the fundamental and typical digital building blocks needed for healthcare, making them accessible to the public and commercial ecosystem as digital public goods. The NDHM was announced by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on the 74th Independence day. The main objective of the NDHM was to create an integrated healthcare system that links practitioners with patients through digital media and gives them real-time health updates.

The motive behind National Digital Health Mission was to enhance the healthcare structure across the country. The NDHM is one of the recent government initiatives, and below we have prepared notes that cover objectives, components, and features for the upcoming UPSC Exam.

National Digital Health Mission

National Digital Health Mission aims to strengthen the backbone required to support and enhance the country’s digital infrastructure. As per the government, NDHM will be the one-stop solution for the healthcare needs of the common man. National Digital Health Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15th August 2020. The best aspect of the digital ecosystem in the healthcare industry is that it will make it unnecessary to keep lengthy paper-based health record trails and endure lengthy delays.

Vision of National Digital Health Mission

To create a digital health ecosystem nationwide that would support universal health coverage in an affordable, efficient, inclusive, accessible, safe, and timely manner that offers a wide range of data, information, and infrastructure services and ensure confidentiality, security, and privacy of the health-related information.

National Digital Health Mission – Background

The National Health Policy 2017 envisions were to ensure the highest level of well-being and health for people of all ages and providing promotive healthcare orientation in all development policies. A Digital Health ID was proposed to reduce the risk of medical errors and increase the quality of care.

  • The MoHFW established a committee to oversee the National Health Stack’s implementation framework as part of the National Digital Health Mission (NHS). The purpose of the NHS was to strengthen and improve the transparency of the health insurance system.
  • To establish and plan for the National Digital Health Mission, the Satyanarayana committee suggested creating a National Digital Health Blueprint.
  • In order to provide digital healthcare services across the nation, the National Health Mission was also suggested by the National Digital Mission.

Objectives of the National Digital Health Mission

By granting patients access to real-time health records, the National Digital Health Mission seeks to establish an integrated healthcare system that links practitioners and patients digitally. This will encourage timely and organized healthcare throughout the nation.

National Digital Health Mission UPSC Notes

The objectives of the National Digital Health Mission are:

  • Establishing the digital health system to manage the health data and to manage the requirements of the infrastructure for seamless services.
  • National Digital Health Mission would have all the credible data on healthcare professionals, clinical establishments, health workers, pharmacies, and drugs.
  • Establishing advanced personal health records by taking inspiration from international standards. Additionally, based on the individual’s consent, records can be easier shared between the individuals, healthcare professionals, and service providers.
  • Promoting the participation of private players along with public health authorities.
  • Promoting CDS – Clinical Decision Support systems by healthcare professionals and making healthcare services portable.
  • Identifying the health facilities, doctors, and people. Facilitating electronic signature and ensuring non-repudiable contracts.

Components of the National Digital Health Mission

The components of NDHM are as follows:

  • Health ID- It is crucial to standardize the identification of an individual across the healthcare provider. The Health ID will uniquely identify persons, authenticate them, and share their health records with the patient’s informed consent.
  • NDHM Health Records (PHR)- PHR is an electronic record of health-related information which can be drawn from multiple sources while being managed, shared, and controlled by the individual.
  • Electronic Medical Record(EMR)- EMR web app is like a digital version of the patient’s chart. It has the medical and treatment history from a single health facility.
  • Health Facility Registry(HFR)- It includes both private and public health facilities, including clinics, imaging centers, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacies, etc. Enrolling in HFR would make connecting to India’s digital health ecosystem easier.
  • Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR)- It includes all the healthcare professionals involved in delivering healthcare services across both traditional and modern systems of medicine.

Features of the National Digital Health Mission

National Digital Health Mission is a digital health ecosystem under which every citizen of India will have a unique health ID and health records with identifiers for health facilities and doctors.

Other features of NDHM include:

  • National Digital Health Mission comprises key 6 building blocks- HealthID, DigiDoctor, Personal Health Records, Health Facility Registry, Telemedicine, and E-pharmacy.
  • The National Health Authority will oversee the mission’s design, build, and implementation.
  • The major building blocks of the mission are the health ID, DigiDoctor, and the health facility Registry will be operated, maintained, and owned by the Indian government.
  • Private stakeholders will get equal opportunities to create and integrate their own products into the market.
  • Every Indian will get a health ID under the National Digital Health Mission to store that individual’s medical details, including the treatment, prescriptions, reports, and discharge summaries.
  • Health ID is a randomly generated 14-digit number used to identify people and thread their health records uniquely.
  • The citizens have to give one-time access to their data to doctors and health providers during their visits to the hospital for consultation.

Benefits of the NDHM

Take a look at the benefits of the National Digital Health Mission below:

  • The implementation of NDHM would drive efficiency, effectiveness, and health service transparency, It would also provide accurate information to enable informed decisions, which increase the accountability of healthcare providers.
  • National Digital Health Mission will give choices to individuals of both public and private health services.
  • National Digital Health Mission would enable a better continuum of health care.
  • It would be a great addition for the researchers as they can study various programs and their effectiveness and interventions.
  • NDHM will help establish a holistic healthcare environment involving hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmacies and lead to a solid digital health infrastructure.

Scope Of National Digital Health Mission

The scope of the National Digital Health Mission is as follows:

  • Universal Health Coverage
  • Health and Well-being for ALL
  • Citizen-Centric Services
  • Qualify Care
  • Accountability for Performance
  • Creation of comprehensive and holistic health eco-system

National Digital Health Mission – Expected Outcomes

The right implementation of the National Digital Health Mission can have the following outcomes:

  • Citizens can get access to their health records with just 5 clicks
  • The care is assured in a primary, secondary, and tertiary care
  • National Digital Health Mission would allow citizens to undergo a diagnostic test only once and follow up on treatments from various healthcare providers.
  • At a single point, all the healthcare services will be provided.

Concerns with National Digital Health Mission

Apart from the scope of the National Digital Health Mission, there lie some concerns as well, such as:

  • In the National Digital Health Mission, the data of millions of citizens will be stored without a data protection law in place.
  • The NDHM mission overlaps with the fundamental right to privacy and does not fully align with the privacy principles advised by the experts.
  • The blueprint doesn’t ensure the safeguard against the commercial exploitation of sensitive information.
  • Foreign surveillance.

Future of NDHM

One of the biggest concerns we have mentioned above about the National Digital Health Mission is patient data privacy and security. The data of patients must remain confidential and secure.

  • The National Digital Health Mission must coordinate with other government initiatives like the Ayushman Bharat Yojana and other IT-enabled programs like NIKSHAY and reproductive child health care.
  • By establishing a digital health ecosystem, the National Digital Health Mission will meet the goals of National Health Policy 2017.
  • The success of the National Digital Health Mission would drive a new beginning for the Indian digital healthcare ecosystem and enable the better delivery of healthcare services moving forward.

National Digital Health Mission UPSC

The National Digital Health Mission specifically finds its relevance in Government Schemes and Current Affairs. In this post, we have covered all the crucial points that would help the aspirants in their UPSC Exam preparation. However, candidates must check the Previous Year’s Question Papers to determine the questions asked in context with NDHM.

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