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India Seeks Tech-Enabled Solutions to Expand Its National Digital Health Network

The National Health Authority (NHA) has invited interested parties to share their expression of interest (EoI) for developing solutions to help build a digital health ecosystem in India. The government expects this collaborative approach to speed up development and help make digital public goods available to all citizens. The participants will provide the solutions as a service at no cost to public and private entities.

NHA is the implementing agency for the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), which aims to create a seamless online platform that will enable interoperability within the digital healthcare ecosystem. The mission has been conceptualised as a set of ‘digital building blocks’. Each building block is seen as a ‘digital public good’, which can be used by any entity in the digital health ecosystem and provides key capabilities that enable the ABDM vision.

According to a press release, ABDM is expected to not only expedite universal health coverage goals in India but also have ripple effects on the global health ecosystem. An official explained that such an ambition requires all hands on deck, which is why NHA is inviting people and organisations onto the project. ABDM has developed building blocks and interoperable APIs for a seamless digital healthcare experience for health facilities, patients, and healthcare professionals. The key building blocks of ABDM are the Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA), the Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR), the Health Facility Registry (HFR), and the Health Information Exchange and Consent Manager (HIE-CM).

These building blocks are designed to identify verified users and enable the exchange of health data with the patient’s consent. The digital ecosystem is now accessible to health facilities and health tech players for integration. Currently, there are over 800 participants integrated with ABDM’s registries and enabling health data exchange through the HIE-CM. The release noted that interested developers can make significant contributions to the digital health ecosystem by sharing their EoI in the following areas:

Unified Health Interface (UHI)

NHA wants to develop a digital platform (similar to the government’s digital payments system UPI) to facilitate various stakeholders that use disparate solutions to communicate. Interested parties can join the online development community.

Health Claims Platform (HCP)

NHA is developing a Health Claims Platform as a public good. Health providers like hospitals and labs can submit their e-claims on this platform, which will be received by payers such as insurers and TPAs for processing.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Various digital health solutions can be used by healthcare providers, including hospital information systems (HIS), hospital management information systems (HMIS), laboratory management information systems (LMIS), teleconsultation solutions, and health lockers.

Open-Source Solutions

Interested parties are also invited to contribute through open-source software solutions that can be made available for use by various entities. These may include service software or any other tools that may be of use to healthcare providers.

The release added that if participants have any other ideas for contributing to the cause of developing the national digital health ecosystem, they may reach out with a specific proposal.

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