Dr Ram Sewak Sharma, Health News, ET HealthWorld


β€œBringing stakeholders of health provisioning on one platform can make it UPI of health sector”: Dr Ram Sewak SharmaNew Delhi: Technological advancements made in the healthcare sector has made it more accessible and has enabled better treatment for patients. For further redemption of the economy, collaboration between the government and the industry is essential to achieve many more milestones in the health sector in future, informed experts participating at the 8th National forum organised by Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI).

Suggesting a single platform approach for the formation of the UPI of the health sector, Dr Sharma said, β€œUPI has become an extremely successful and scalable platform. It is a simple single dimension money transfer system. Health provisioning has hundreds and thousands of stakeholders – small clinics, large hospitals, technology savvy hospitals, pharmacies, diagnosticians and laboratories. It is a diverse ecosystem. All these have to be brought on one platform for it to become UPI of health sector”

He further explained how technology in the health sector has to be inclusive, cater to diversity, interoperable, scalable, frugal, user-friendly, should not become an additional burden on a doctor which hinders the workflow and above all, should be people-centric.

Enunciating on how well the privacy of people is taken care of, Sharma shared, β€œPrivacy by design principles have been followed ever since Aadhar was introduced. Minimal information, consent-based sharing of information, purpose specific information, notice to a total of nine principles are being followed for NHDM as well.”

Concluding his statement, he highlighted the need to devise an open platform with all the necessary artefacts in terms of digital public goods being taken into consideration. It will be a protocol-based network where people can plug in their solutions with search neutral options.

Highlighting how health has become a major driver of all other aspects of the country, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS advocated, β€œHealth has become the centre stage. The pandemic has shown us that if the nation is unhealthy, it will affect the economy, tourism, travel and other sectors. We have to come out of silos and start collaborating just as people started manufacturing essentials such as PPE kits, N95 masks, ventilators etc. during Covid-19.”

Further elaborating on the implication of utilising technology for the health sector, he added, β€œTechnology, if used properly, can be a game changer. Tele-consultation is safe, cost-effective, ensures easy transfer of data and has the strength of managing large numbers of patients remotely. It has changed how conferences were held in healthcare. We have to adapt to technology as per the needs of the health sector.” He also cited the need to address health as equity and invest more in research and entrepreneurship. A well structured adequately-financed PPP plan, he feels, can become a defining moment for the health sector.

Talking about the change that the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) will bring to the health sector, Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals said, β€œNDHM will be transformative. When it talks about safety, interoperability, security and reliability as the four pillars, it stands a chance as a National Health Stack (NHS). NDHM has to be such an important mission that everyone understands it. We need to have a series of discussions highlighting how it is going to be transformative, non-threatening and we need people to trust the NDHM and realise its importance. We are in the first step of creating believers. This is a movement just like cell phones.”

She further added, β€œIn two to three years, we will start discussing where we are and how many things are transformed. Unless the NDHM puts up guardrails, we will see a situation that is detrimental to the sector. A situation worse than not having inadequate healthcare, is doing it the wrong way. I am really proud of the 100 crore vaccination. We will continue to do what keeps India safe.”

Dr Manjiri Bakre, Founder & CEO, OncoStem Diagnostics said, β€œAs entrepreneurs, we develop products which can fit in our healthcare system. Taking lead from the United States, we need a ready infrastructure where the products can be used. The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) and NDHM provides such an infrastructure to us. In such an infrastructure-ready scenario, entrepreneurs can really focus upon developing infrastructure-friendly products.”

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