Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Digital Health Mission today, while addressing the nation from Delhi's iconic Red Fort on the occasion of India's 74th Independence Day.
Stating that the "completely technology-based" initiative would revolutionise the health sector, the Prime Minister explained that every Indian would get an ID card that would contain all relevant information about his/her medical conditions. This card could be used to access health services and medicines, he said.
"From today a new campaign is going to start in the country. It is the National Digital Health Mission, which will bring a new revolution in the health sector in India," the Prime Minister said.
"Every Indian will get a Health ID card. Every time you visit a doctor or a pharmacy, everything will be logged in this card. From the doctor's appointment to the medication, everything will be available in your health profile," he added.
The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), which comes under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), is expected to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health services in the country, the government has said.
Under the scheme each patient will be given an ID card on which confidential medical data, such as prescriptions, diagnostic reports and discharge summaries, will be stored.
Patients will give their doctors, or health providers, one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital or for consultation. Amid fears over data confidentiality, the government said access to medical data will have to be given separately for each visit and that doctors could only access it for a limited time.
The NDHM will also allow patients to access health services remotely - through tele-consultation and e-pharmacies, as well as offer other health-related benefits.
The focus on tele-medicine and offering health services digitally comes amid a coronavirus pandemic that has infected nearly 25 lakh people, of whom over 48,000 have died. Over 65,000 new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours, the government said this morning.
Hygiene protocols in place to minimise the spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 virus include maintaining at least six-feet from each other. This places added emphasis on the need to be able to provide health services, particularly for patients of diseases other than Covid - while maintaining distance.
During his speech today the Prime Minister also paid tribute to medical workers on the frontline of the battle against the Covid virus.
"On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank the efforts of all corona-warriors. All those healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, who have worked tirelessly to serve the nation," the Prime Minister said.
He also said that three coronavirus vaccines were at different stages of trials and a roadmap is ready for production and distribution to every Indian.
This is PM Modi's seventh consecutive Independence Day speech, and second since his BJP-led NDA swept to a second term in power in Lok Sabha elections last year.
With input from ANI