Creation of health ID under NDHM not mandatory for citizens: Ashwini Choubey

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) Creation of a health ID under the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) is not mandatory for citizens, Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Choubey, informed Parliament on Friday.

On August 15, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the NDHM, following which NDHM pilot mode was launched in the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. The budget allocated for the NDHM for 2020-21 is Rs 30 crore, Choubey said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

The budget allocated for health IDs for the year 2020-21 is Rs 1.06 crore. The expenditure on health IDs till December 31 is Rs 52.02 lakh. There is no provision for state and UT wise budget and expenditure, the minister said. Providing the status of issuance of health IDs in the six union territories where NDHM pilot mode has been rolled out till February 8, Choubey said 2,04,353 health IDs have been issued in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 19,569 in Lakshadweep, 57,460 in Ladakh, 75,886 in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, 3,10,015 in Puducherry, 1,38,391 in Chandigarh.

Responding to a question on whether the government has taken a note of the concerns raised with regard to data privacy of individuals, Choubey said an individual may choose to create a health ID under the NDHM. Upon opting to create a health ID, only basic demographic and geographic information of the beneficiary like name, year of birth, gender, mobile number and address are collected. This system can be used to create personal health records for each individual wherein records generated by various health information providers like doctors, healthcare facilities and laboratories can be collated and viewed by that individual and by healthcare providers with the consent of the individual only, Choubey explained.

The data pertaining to medical records will be stored in a federated architecture as described in the National Digital Health Blueprint released by the government of India in 2019, he said, adding that this data is being captured even now as part of doctor-patient or healthcare provider individual interaction. Under the NDHM, it shall be possible for other healthcare providers to access this data with the consent of the individual concerned. 'The health data pertaining to an individual will remain at the facility level only and no central repository of medical records is envisaged to be created in the NDHM. The government gives highest priority to data security and privacy. It is inbuilt in the design of the NDHM. All applicable laws, rules and judgments of the Supreme Court are being followed,' he said.

He said the Health Data Management Policy has also been approved. Apart from various legal provisions, all technical solutions possible to ensure data privacy and security are being put in place. As mentioned in the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB), the guiding document for the NDHM implementation, use of secure health networks and government community cloud infrastructure, as defined by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is being used for hosting of data.

All events on this cloud infrastructure would be under 24x7 surveillance to ensure highly secure environment. One of the key aspects of information security framework under the NDHM highlights privacy by design as one of the key guiding principles. It aims to ensure that health data and its transfer are always compliant and adhere to all privacy requirements. All the building blocks that require handling personal health records are being designed to comply with such policy ab‐initio. Further, medical records are made available to anyone only with the consent of the individual or his/her nominee, Choubey said. PTI PLB KJ KJ