Leveraging India’s Digital Public Infrastructure to Combat Non-communicable Diseases – ET HealthWorld

By Kamesh Shekhar and Kazimi Rizvi

Technology has greatly transformed socio-economic dynamics in India, with significant adoption in various fields such as financial inclusion and healthcare. India’s growing digital footprint has transformed it from a country that adopts technology to a country that creates scalable technology that complements the ecosystem. It covers various technologies and concepts such as eHealth, wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, health information technologiesetc., emphasizing access and provision of health services.

India has put in place several technological systems using Digital public infrastructure (DPI) as a backbone, encouraging the increasing use of technology in medical facilities. These technological developments supported by the IPR could help us by elevating the existing concerns that India faces in terms of control. non-communicable diseasesin which around 61 per cent of deaths occur in India.

Improved Data-driven decision making

Data-driven decision making is essential to harness the possibilities of the data that is collected, stored and analyzed to better understand the complexities of today’s healthcare challenges and consequently develop effective solutions. The most effective use of data for healthcare solutions involves efficient use of data that is already being collected and stored, such as Dell Technologies’ Digital LifeCare initiative, which solves the problem of data accessibility and management throughout the ecosystem of workers, doctors and officials to make better and more efficient decisions. They work with Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA), a DPI initiative to help citizens digitally track their health.

India has pioneered the Personal Health Records (PHR) mechanism, where individuals store, maintain and control medical information. These innovations go beyond the possibilities enabled by electronic medical records (EMR), which are digital versions of paper medical records produced by the professional in a consultation, and aim to provide a more complete and holistic view of the patient’s medical history. an individual, where they cannot communicate. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) can be prevented at early stages and empower medical workers to improve patient education. This mechanism also streamlines the flow of data, catalyzing a shift in healthcare delivery towards efficiency, accessibility and scalability in the burgeoning health technology landscape. Furthermore, data-driven processes are not only crucial to the overall delivery and accessibility of healthcare, but also have applied uses in emerging technologies. , as Artificial intelligence (AI), which recently got a shot in the arm with the Government of India’s AI Mission of Rs 10,371.92 crore. This much-needed computing power will help startups and innovators implement responsible AI projects, including addressing problems in healthcare through automation, prediction, and decision support for practitioners and researchers.

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However, this would require the active participation of all stakeholders, including industry and government, in creating datasets for data-driven decision making that adequately represent populations and consider contextual differences between landscapes. . Initiatives like Digital LifeCare, which has reached 238 million people across India, show the potential of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to address healthcare challenges. More such partnerships can create accurate and rapid data feedback loops needed to constantly strengthen and improve program delivery, monitoring and management and help the executive make informed, data-driven healthcare decisions.

Strengthening public health monitoring and Disease management

As is evident from the COVID-19 experience, including testing, tracing and vaccination, digital health initiatives play an important role in public health monitoring and disease management. Working in collaboration with the government, many initiatives have been transformative, such as digital monitoring and management of NCDs. Furthermore, such platforms have bridged the digital divide and empowered Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers by providing practical and timely advice to medical workers, working offline and in 11 regional languages, greatly expanding their reach.

These initiatives have greatly helped policymakers create appropriate strategies to expand healthcare provision at the national level and develop plans to improve access and quality of healthcare globally. These initiatives have significantly accelerated the proliferation of digital health initiatives and support governments and policymakers in monitoring public health and mitigating any potential negative consequences of health-related issues.

Therefore, as India prepares to reap the benefits of the world’s youngest population, we must use technological innovations to protect them from NCDs. A strong and healthy India is central to Amrit Kaal’s Vision 2047.

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The article is written by Kamesh Shekhar, Senior Program Director of Privacy, Data Governance and Artificial Intelligence at The Dialogue and Kazimi Rizvi, Founding Director of The Dialogue.

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely the author’s and ETHealthworld.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be liable for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly)


  • Updated On Apr 28, 2024 at 01:37 PM IST
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  • Posted on Apr 28, 2024 at 01:37 pm IST
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  • 4 min read
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