Covid crisis highlights need to invest in healthcare: Ayushman Bharat CEO

“We will be providing the digital infrastructure and it will revolutionise the health sector,” he said.

The coronavirus crisis highlighted that the country was investing too little in the health sector, CEO of AB-PMJAY Indu Bhushan said on Thursday as he stressed on the need to invest more in primary, secondary and critical care.

Addressing a webinar titled Digital Revolution Going Viral' during FICCI HEAL 2020 event, he said the crisis has spurred some reforms and digital health is one of them, according to a statement issued by FICCI.

The (COVID-19) crisis showed the fault lines in the health sector. India is investing too little in health and it is one of the lowest in the world. This crisis has shown that we need to do much more and we need to invest more in the primary, secondary and critical care, Bhushan was quoted as saying in the statement.

Bhushan, CEO of Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) and the National Health Authority, said the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) blueprint was developed over the last two years, which aims to provide a unique health ID to every citizen and link them together with electronic health records.

The aim is to improve transparency in the sector, make health services more accessible, interoperable, and make policy more evidence-based, he said.

The NDHM has citizens at the centre of the whole concept and we are adopting privacy and security in the design itself and not as an afterthought, the official asserted.

Drawing a parallel with other government initiatives, Bhushan said India has gone through the FinTech revolution and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) which have revolutionised the financial sector, adding we aim to do the same thing in the health sector through NDHM.

We will be providing the digital infrastructure and it will revolutionise the health sector, he said.

Elaborating on the government's digital initiatives, specifically the telemedicine network, Bhushan said, The excitement regarding telemedicine and digitising the whole healthcare system stems from the PM himself.

The NDHM was one of the major announcements from the ramparts of the Red Fort this Independence Day, he added.

The senior official said the implementation of NDHM has been initiated on a pilot basis.

We are acting on the start small, think big and scale fast' principle, and hopefully, in six months, you will start seeing the impact on a larger ecosystem, he noted.

Sangita Reddy, President-FICCI and Joint MD, Apollo Hospitals, said COVID-19 brought together some of the most powerful and innovative thought processes across the world.

Telemedicine is not just tele-consults, it is an integrated platform that one can use. It is evolving and emerging and the day physical medicine and telemedicine are seamlessly integrated is when we have won the telemedicine game, she was quoted as saying in the statement.

She said India is clearly ramping up for the vaccination challenge and it is not just about production.

We will produce for India and the world. One of the critical aspects of administering vaccines is human resources and India has the human resource to do that, Reddy said.

The National Health Service (NHS), UK is looking to acquire doctors and nurses from India to help them in this challenge. This is a tremendous opportunity for India to showcase its capabilities, she added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel