‘Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will be affordable, secure’: RS Sharma
By rolling out the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission this week, India is aiming to take a leap forward in the way the country’s health care ecosystem is structured. In an interview to HT, RS Sharma, chief executive of the National Health Authority, elaborated on the mission, the steps needed for its effective implementation, and concerns on privacy and data security. Edited excerpts:
Since enrolling for the mission is voluntary, how will you ensure its effective implementation?
Of course, it is voluntary; and convincing people is definitely a challenge in such projects. What we, however, believe is that once you have an open intra-operable system, people do come forward because it becomes easy; it provides ease of living...
I agree that initially technology usage is difficult, but once people realise the benefits of technology, they use it. Aadhaar is a good example... So, if we can demonstrate to people that using the digital mission for delivery of health services is going to be much more affordable, easy, will cost less in transport, and other facilities, it will work.
Tell us more about the unique digital health ID.
The unique ID is basically just a number which will be a reference to get all the records collated, and which a person can share at some point in time. The larger purpose of unique IDs is to ensure that you are able to have access to your documents, and you are able to share them with whomsoever you want to share, including doctors. It will be just a random number devoid of any intelligence, like Aadhaar.
How will you ensure data safety?
We have made the system very secure. First of all, it is federated data architecture; it is not that this platform is collecting any data. It is only providing linkages; it is just a transaction platform. For example, if you have visited a particular hospital, and that hospital has your digital records, the records will remain with that hospital. The data does not come to this platform; the mission doesn’t have any data. And with regards to data related to doctors, nurses, health care workers, hospitals, etc., that is absolutely secured with us.
How do you plan to implement the mission in areas where there’s poor connectivity?
...Any programme which we will launch is going to be inclusive, including this programme, which is not going to exclude the digital have-nots...