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India: Incentives to Boost Digital Health Transactions

The National Health Authority (NHA) has announced a Digital Health Incentive Scheme (DHIS) for stakeholders in the digital health ecosystem. DHIS aims to boost digital health transactions in the country under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).

The incentives under this scheme will be provided to hospitals and diagnostic labs as well as providers of digital health solutions like hospital/health management information systems (HMIS) and laboratory management information systems (LMIS).

Under the DHIS, the eligible health facilities and digital solutions companies will be able to earn financial incentives of up to IN 40 million (US$ 483,387) based on the number of digital health records they create and link to ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts). This incentive can be availed by the health facilities (hospitals and diagnostic labs) registered with ABDM’s Health Facility Registry (HFR) and fulfilling the eligibility criterion specified under the scheme.

The government believes the scheme will encourage more healthcare facilities and digital software companies to come forward and join ABDM in providing patient-centric healthcare. Through this financial incentive scheme, NHA is pushing for the adoption of digital health, according to R. S. Sharma, the NHA CEO. He added that it also includes solution (HMIS/ LMIS) providers in the incentive scheme so that they handhold other health facilities to come on board and facilitate the strengthening of the ecosystem. Incentives have played a catalytic role in driving the early adoption of other citizen-centric programmes. Incentives would be provided to the following entities:

  • Health Facilities having ten or more beds
  • Laboratory/radiology diagnostics centres
  • Digital solution companies (entities providing ABDM-enabled digital solutions)

The incentives shall be provided based on the number of ABHA-linked transactions, which is the digital health records created and linked to ABHA. For hospitals, the base level criteria are 50 transactions per bed per month. The hospital will receive incentives of IN 20 (US$ 0.24) per additional transaction above the base level. For diagnostic facilities/labs, the base level criteria are 500 transactions per month. The facilities will receive IN 15 (US$ 0.18) per additional transaction above the base level.

Digital solution companies (DSCs) will be given an incentive of 25% of the incentive amount received by eligible health facilities using their digital solutions. For the ABHA-linked transactions done by facilities not eligible for direct incentives (clinics, small hospitals, health lockers, teleconsultation platforms, etc.), an incentive would be provided to DSCs.

For public sector facilities, the incentives shall be added to the funds under Rogi Kalyan Samiti. The estimated initial financial outlay of the incentive scheme is IN 500 million (US$ 6 million) for six months starting from 1 January 2023 onwards.

Further, NHA has been organising public webinars to provide a detailed overview of the scheme. Earlier this week, NHA held a workshop to highlight the role of ABDM and the importance of digital health records for patients, especially the diagnostic reports which are needed repeatedly in case of referrals or while visiting a different health facility.

The workshop saw participation from pathologists and microbiologists, diagnostic lab owners, representatives from the Indian Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists (IAPM), and district and state-level office bearers of the lab owners’ association. Representatives from the diagnostic industry, officials from NHA, state health department officials, and ABDM partners offering LMIS (Laboratory Management Info Solution) and PHR (Personal Health Records) solutions also participated in the workshop.

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