“Aggregate data is hugely valuable in this age of big data and machine learning. When this data is used with equal weightage on protection and empowerment it becomes a powerful way of empowering people to participate in digital system,” said Pramod Varma, the chief architect and technology adviser for Aadhaar at the third Digital Healthcare Conclave organised by Philips Innovation Campus, at Bangalore.”India must build open public digital infrastructure for universal coverage, registries, federated EHRs and appropriate regulations that allow the ecosystem to develop various health services and at scale in diverse context,” he added.
Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary Family and Health Welfare, Government of Karnataka said, “Private providers and corporations should work together with the government to build a healthier happier India.”
The conference shed light on why connected healthcare is the need of the hour for our country and how it can solve the existing healthcare problems. Indian healthcare system has always grappled with two As – Accessibility and Affordability challenges. In 2015, there were 25354 Primary Health Center (PHC)s in India and 8.1% of these PHCs were without a doctor. To add to this, 38% of deaths are due to communicable diseases, maternal, per-natal and nutritional disorders, and 42% of deaths are due to non-communicable diseases. This burden will only increase as less than 15% of population is covered by insurance. With all these challenges, one can hear the wheels of Indian healthcare cranking hard and heaving to pull. How do we address this?
While there has been a lot of innovations in healthcare where technology has shown the potential to find solutions, it is important that there is a common roadmap, strategy that would help the ecosystem work in tandem towards relevant solutions.
The National Healthcare Policy 2017, talks about how connected healthcare is the solution to the existing healthcare problems in India. The policy suggests the setting up of a National Digital Health Authority (NDHA) to regulate, develop and deploy digital health across the continuum of care using digital technologies. It highlights the role of Aadhaar to make connected healthcare a reality by establishing a seamless and efficient National Health Information Network.