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Narendra Singh on ABHA, ET HealthWorld

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New Delhi: The Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission (ABDM) is an ambitious digital project launched by the Government of India to establish a strong digital infrastructure to support integrated healthcare nationwide. ABDM has introduced the Ayushman Bharat Health account (ABHA), a secure platform where patients and healthcare professionals can register and manage their health records.

Narendra Singh, Programme Manager (Adoption), Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission, National Health Authority (NHA) in the valedictory address on ‘Advantages of ABDM for Pathologists & LMIS providers’ at ETHealthworld’s India Diagnostic Summit, on June 16, clarified that Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission (ABDM) is different from the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) scheme. He brought up this issue because there has been a misconception that both these schemes are related.

“PM-JAY scheme is related to providing health insurance to a particular set of people who are eligible and on the other hand the ABDM is a digital mission which aims to develop the backbone necessary to support the integrated health infrastructure of the country and cover the gaps which currently exists among different stakeholders of healthcare ecosystem through digital means which is available for every Indian,” he added.

“ABDM number is a 14-digit number that one can link and maintain their existing health records like prescriptions, lab reports, etc. Without the consent of the patient, their health records will not be shared with anyone and are kept in a secure database.”

Elucidating further about the Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA), on how patients, as well as health professionals, can register on this platform across all systems of medicine. In addition, the platform has a health facility registry with a comprehensive repository of all health facilities across different systems of medicine. This facility will cover all hospitals, clinics, diagnostics labs, pharmacies, etc.

Singh added, “Official data claims that 40,42,32,569 ABHA were registered, whereas 1,95,829 healthcare professionals got themselves registered with ABDM, 2,10,882 health facilities were registered, 27,65,59,880 health records were linked till June 16, 2023.”

ABDM has partnered with companies like Paytm and Digi-locker to make the patient process smoother. They can generate their ABHA through these apps and if they want to share their details of ABHA with laboratories and doctors, that can be done securely through Digi-locker.

He highlighted some of the myths and concerns that patients have- whether their data will be shared with the government, whether this requires mandatory National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accreditation, whether will labs share patients’ data with other labs, or will it require investments from labs to join the system. Clarifying all the doubts, Singh said, “The data will stay with the lab only and if required will be shared with the doctors with the patient’s consent. Also, no financial data is traced and no altering of health data is possible.”

Singh concluded the session by throwing some light on the financial aspect of ABHA, on how account holders will receive incentives every time they make a registry in hospitals or laboratories.

  • Published On Jun 21, 2023 at 03:35 PM IST

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