India is committed to reforms in health service delivery using ICT: J P Nadda

Mr J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addressed the Global Digital Health Partnership Summit, at Canberra, Australia, on 19th February

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New Delhi: “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has a great potential towards the improvement of delivery of healthcare services. India is committed to reforms in health service delivery using ICT under Digital India Program of Government of India.” This was stated by Mr J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare during his address at Global Digital Health Partnership Summit, at Canberra, Australia, on 19th February. The Union Health Minister spoke on the topic: Making Digital Health Services a Priority in Healthcare Reform.

Mr Greg Hunt, Minister of Health, Australia, Mr Tim Kelsey, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Digital Health Agency, Ms Glenys Beauchamp, Secretary, Department of Health, Australia along with delegates from Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America and WHO were also present at the summit

Mr Nadda stressed on the importance for building digital health ecosystem partnerships with private healthcare providers, academia, health IT practitioners, industry, patient groups and regulatory bodies. The Union Health Minister stated that adoption of Digital Technology for improvement of governance has always been central to the polity of the Indian government. He further informed that there are four major areas where India has implemented Digital Technology in healthcare. “Towards improving health service delivery, towards improving compliance of people towards health & care, engaging citizens in partnering with government for planning and management of health services delivery and Improving governance”, Mr Nadda added

Mr Nadda also informed the participants that the Health Ministry has rolled out large scale IT systems in different areas of healthcare ecosystem such as integrated health surveillance program, public health management, hospital information system, supply chain management, online services, tele-medicine, programme monitoring and mHealth. “Such initiatives include systems for obtaining reliable information and near real-time data for policymaking, ensuring efficient program and service delivery”, Mr Nadda said.

Speaking about some of the initiatives of the Health Ministry, Mr Nadda said that India’s National Health Portalprovidesauthenticinformation related to healthcare to citizens. He further said that NHP is functioning as Citizen Portal for Healthcare, providing health-related information to citizens and stakeholders in different Indian languages. “Total web users for national health portal till date are over 2.6 Million and over 2.2 Million calls were made by citizens till date. Content of the portal is currently available in 6 Indian languages- and it is planned to add 6 more languages”, Mr Nadda elaborated

The Union Health Minister further said that Hospital Information System is being implemented in hospitals for automation of hospital processes to achieve better efficiency and service delivery in public health facilities up toCommunity Health Centre level. “We have e-Hospital- developed by National Informatics Centre which is implemented in more than 173 Hospitals and e-Sushrut– developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing Noida which is implemented in more than 80 hospitals. Online Registration System (ORS) is used for scheduling online appointments in public sector tertiary care hospitals. Around 139 hospitals are currently using ORS application,” Mr Nadda said.

Reiterating the commitment of the government, the Health Minister said that our vision is to create integrated digital health platform and enable creation of electronic health record for 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 prioritize our interventions and become proactive in solving healthcare challenges of our citizen,” Mr Nadda stated.