India building digital health ecosystem: Nadda

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Canberra (Australia), Feb 19 (IANS) Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda on Monday said India is committed to reforms in health services delivery using Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Addressing delegates from around a dozen countries at the Global Digital Health Partnership Summit, he said the ICT had great potential to improve delivery of healthcare services and “India will take advantage of it under the Digital India programme”.

Adoption of digital technology for improvement of governance had always been central to the Indian government, he noted.

According to him, the four major areas where India has implemented digital technology in healthcare are health services delivery, compliance of people towards health and care, engagement of citizens in partnering with the government for planning and management of health services delivery and improving governance.

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Nadda stressed on the importance of building digital health ecosystem partnerships with private healthcare providers, academia, health IT practitioners, industry, patient groups and regulatory bodies.

Present at the summit were Australian Minister of Health Greg Hunt, Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey and delegates from Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the World Health Organisation.

Nadda said IT systems in India were also rolled out for integrated health surveillance programmes, public health management, hospital information system, supply chain management, online services, tele-medicine, programme monitoring.

“Such initiatives include systems for obtaining reliable information and near real-time data for policy making, ensuring efficient programmes and service delivery,” he said.

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The National Health Portal of India was providing authentic information related to healthcare to citizens in different Indian languages, he said. “Content of the portal is currently available in six Indian languages and it is planned to add six more languages.”

The Online Registration System (ORS) was being used for scheduling online appointments in public sector tertiary care hospitals, he said, adding that around 139 hospitals were currently using the ORS application.

The Minister said India was planning to create an integrated digital health platform and enable creation of electronic health records for the 1.3 billion people of India.

“We wish to enable hospitals and health service providers to do so by giving them free software systems and data storage facilities. In addition, we wish to use big data analytics to prioritise our interventions and become proactive in solving healthcare challenges,” he added.

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