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Digital Transformation in Healthcare

1. Digital technologies are transforming the healthcare sector and have impacted both urban and rural areas.

2. The Government of India also has played a significant role by making digitalization as a catalyst for shaping the healthcare sector through its policies like NHP, 2017.

What are the features of NHP, 2017?

1. National Health Policy, 2017 envisages to achieve the highest level of health and well-being for all at all ages.

2. This will be done through increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost of healthcare delivery.

3. It lays strong impetus on leveraging digital technologies for better delivery of healthcare facilities.

Why is Digital Technology important?

1. The benefits of proper healthcare in rural areas are concentrated only in small parts of the country.

2. There is a lack of centralized system to store a person’s healthcare records.

3. India has just around one doctor for 11,000 people.

4. Lack of infrastructure makes it very difficult to retain doctors in villages.

5. This lack of quality healthcare infrastructure results in people dying due to preventable and curable diseases.

6. The cost of setting and maintaining healthcare infrastructure is quite huge which leads to lack of adequate healthcare in villages.

7. Introducing “Digital” instead of “Physical” Health Centres could pave the way for quality healthcare at a lower cost.

How are CSCs enabling digitalization?

1. As per the mandate of the Ministry of Electronics & IT, Common Service Centre (CSC) is implementing the DIGI Gaon initiative.

2. Under this initiative citizens in villages can avail various online services like tele-education, telemedicine, financial services, internet connectivity, etc.

3. Digi Gaons are promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihood through community participation.

4. CSC provides a platform that can enable the government, private and social sector organizations to work for the benefits of the rural population through a combination of both IT-based and non-IT-based services.

5. In healthcare sector, telemedicine is the form of primary healthcare, where a patient seeks the doctor’s advice through Common Service Centre (CSC).

6. Telemedicine is used in villages to get medical consultation from the doctors through video conferencing.

Which are ongoing initiatives?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has started many initiatives in line with digital healthcare.

1. Reproductive Child Health Care

2. Integrated Disease Surveillance Program

3. E-Hospital

4. E-Shushrut

5. National Health Portal

6. Online Registration System, etc.

7. States are supported under the National Health Mission for services like telemedicine, teleradiology, etc.

Initiatives by Some of the States

1. Gujarat has implemented e-Aushadhi project which is primarily a supply chain management application.

2. Rajasthan has initiated Pregnancy Child Tracking & health services management system which is an online software.

3. Andhra Pradesh initiated Rashtriya Bal Karyakram (RBSK).

Where does ASHA come into picture?

1. Inclusion of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) largely transformed India’s rural healthcare sector.

2. ASHA is a group of community health workers responsible to motivate women for institutional deliveries, bring children to immunization clinics, encourage family planning, treat basic illness, improve village sanitation, etc.

3. Apart from the government, many institutions are supporting initiatives like ASHA.

4. Smart-phone enabled apps that use smartphone camera combined with computer vision and Augmented Reality (AR) are developed to empower ASHAs.

5. Technology has changed the way ASHA workers perform their duties.