NHA has floated an Expression of Interest, seeking innovative solutions to help build a national digital health ecosystem
The ABDM endeavours to give impetus to open and interoperable standards in the digital health ecosystem: NHA CEO
Launched in 2020, ABDM aims to create digital health records for citizens and to thread the beneficiary’s health records across multiple systems and stakeholders.
The National Health Authority (NHA) has invited applications from technology providers to implement its ambitious national digital health network.
As part of the initiative, the NHA has floated an Expression of Interest for all related parties, seeking to develop innovative solutions to build a national digital health ecosystem for the country.
The initiative will give a boost to the sector and will ‘expedite universal health coverage goals’ in the country. The move is aimed at getting the private and public sector entities to contribute in the development of various open-source protocols to expand the digital health ecosystem.
These include efforts to develop a Unified Health Interface, Health Claims Protocol (HCP), and other open-source platforms. It is a part of the overarching Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), which aims to create a seamless online platform to provide digital health services to millions of Indians across the nook and corner of the country. NHA is the nodal agency that oversees the implementation of ABDM.
NHA CEO RS Sharma said, “The ABDM endeavours to give impetus to open and interoperable standards in the digital health ecosystem…However, such an ambition requires all hands-on-deck. In this regard, the National Health Authority is giving an open call inviting all interested parties to contribute to the Unified Health Interface (UHI), Health Claims Protocol (HCP), and various other open-source digital public goods being created to expand the digital health ecosystem.”
ABDM: Digitising The Public Health Ecosystem
ABDM was launched in September last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prior to that, a pilot programme was initiated in August 2020 across six union territories to test the platform. The platform essentially has been envisaged with creating digital health records for citizens and to thread the beneficiaries’ health records across multiple systems and stakeholders.
It will also enable interoperability of health data within the ecosystem to create electronic health records of citizens and facilitate delivery of health services.
As part of this, the agency has already developed ‘building blocks’ of the ecosystem. Under this programme, ABDM has already built interoperable Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to offer a seamless digital healthcare experience for all stakeholders. The key ‘building blocks’ of ABDM include Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA), Healthcare Professionals Registry, Health Facility Registry as well as the Health Information Exchange and Consent Manager.
The work on the platform is in full swing, with the APIs now available for integration by healthtech players and other players.The government claims to have onboarded as many as 800 companies onto the platform.
The move is part of the government’s bid to ‘increase the ease of living’ and ‘simplifying procedures in hospitals’. The initiative will help universalise health history of patients and will enable usage of the data across hospitals in the country. With one single click, doctors will be able to access patient data and will render big folders of prescriptions useless.
In addition, the platform will make it easy to find doctors and hospitals in the near vicinity of patients. Additionally, it will also host data related to labs and pharmacies to ensure better availability of services in every corner of the country.
The government’s move comes at a time when the healthtech sector in the country is witnessing a massive boom. Indian healthtech startups raised $2.2 Bn in funding across 131 deals last year. The capital inflow in 2021 also helped mint four new unicorns in the sector – Innovaccer, Pharmeasy, Curefit and Pristyn Care.
An Inc42 report estimates that the addressable market size of the healthtech sector is expected to grow to $21.3 Bn by 2025. The healthtech boom is driven by increasing internet penetration and rising investor interest. The COVID-19 pandemic played the biggest role in giving a digital push to the sector as more and more people went online to get their health services delivered – from medicines to teleconsultations.