Drawing parallel with the Aadhaar enrolment system, Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani suggested that India needs to have in place a similar model to vaccinate India’s entire population in two years.
He recommended that the country should design a system that can do 10 Mn vaccinations a day across the country, but all unified by a common digital backbone, so that every person gets the same experience and the same information is recorded.
“We will have a training system to train 200,000 people who will know how to vaccinate, explain to people the side-effects, they will know how to make people comfortable with the vaccination. Only certified vaccinators can participate in this. There will be a network of public and private vaccination centres. So it could be government-sponsored, or it could be a hospital or a corporate or a pharmacy, it doesn’t matter, but all of them use the same application technology,” he said in an interview with Indian Express.
Nilekani also proposed setting up a Unique Digital Health ID, which will be different from Aadhaar. “It is for electronic health records. The whole idea will be to have electronic health records which the person can pull up whenever they want… It is a very powerful thing and obviously all the necessary safeguards on privacy, security, encryption need to be followed,” he said.
The proposal for a unique health ID is part of the National Health Stack, the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) will bring a unique health ID for every Indian citizen — similar to Aadhaar or UPI IDS — digitised health records and registry of doctors and health facilities.
The idea behind the NDHM is to enhance the crumbling and aging healthcare infrastructure and ecosystem.
Big Push For Healthtech Startups
For healthtech startups, the big benefit will be the streamlining of data and patient records. Startups will have the added advantage of information being carried forward in the health ID, including all tests done, existing diseases, medicines prescribed and more. This will help doctors to examine patients in a better way, because it will be easy for them to analyze the medical condition of the patient faster.
Similarly, in the pharmaceutical space, companies will be able to develop region specific products based on this data which can become a huge differentiator. For example, blood sugar levels of patients across the country are different, and depending on the diet that they follow, a small change in the percentage of dosage can have a significant impact on patients health.
Healthtech Startups Surfing The NDHM Wave
The NDHM brings along a huge opportunity for healthtech startups to work with providers and insurers to help build the continuum of patient centric care. There are a lot of opportunities available – from managing patient health records, to remote monitoring, teleconsultation and using AI and ensuring right interventions are made at the right time.
This is the right time for healthtech startups to get the new innovations on board in the healthcare sector and meet the unique needs of India. Through this initiative, digital health will be the only way to reach a large population at affordable costs.