The Independence Day address of the Prime Minister launching the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) during an unprecedented novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, caught everyone's attention. Yet, despite all his eloquence it was not clear to many what to expect in substantial terms. 'Going Digital' has no doubt been a magic phrase that has often been repeated in multiple contexts in the country, and as yet another 'Mission' for the health sector, they waited for more news to emerge. On August 27 we learnt that the Ministry of Health was expecting feedback and public comments on the draft by September 3. Since then the date has been extended by another week. Even that leaves insufficient time for discussions among medical practitioners, hospital managements, associations of various stakeholders in the health-care sector and other members of civil society for any meaningful feedback. Some progress There is no disputing the premise that capturing data relating to patients and its digitising could help patients, the doctors who attend to them and the health-care facilities where they seek treatment. In fact many States have already achieved some breakthroughs in these areas with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and, subsequently, National Health Mission through the… Read full this story
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