Draft Health Data Management Policy | 27 Aug 2020

Why in News

The National Health Authority (NHA) has released the Draft Health Data Management Policy of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) in the public domain for comments and feedback.

  • NHA is the apex agency of the Government of India responsible for the design, roll- out, implementation and management of Ayushman Bharat and the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) across the country.

Key Points

  • The draft health data management policy acts as a guidance document to set out the minimum standard for health data privacy protection.
  • Purpose: To create a National Digital Health Ecosystem that supports Universal Health Coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely and safe manner, through provision of a wide-range of data, information and infrastructure services ensuring the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.
  • Objectives:
    • Provide adequate guidance and to set out a framework for the secure processing of personal and sensitive personal data of individuals.
    • b digital personal health data like medical conditions, reproductive outcomes, prescriptions and diagnosis etc.
    • Create a system of digital personal and medical health records which is easily accessible to individuals and health service providers and is purely voluntary in nature, based on the consent of individuals, and in compliance with international standards.
    • Increase awareness of the importance of data privacy.
    • Ensure national portability in the provision of health services.
    • Establish appropriate institutional mechanisms for auditing of the National Digital Health Ecosystem.
    • Leverage the information systems existing in the Indian health sector.
  • Background:
    • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the National Health Policy, 2017 which envisaged creation of a digital health technology eco-system aiming at developing an integrated health information system.
    • A committee headed by former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman released the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) in July 2019.
    • NDHB recognised the need to establish a specialised organisation, called the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), to facilitate the evolution of the National Digital Health Ecosystem.
    • The Prime Minister announced the launch of NDH on 74th Independence Day i.e. 15th August, 2020.

Way Forward

  • With the emergence of Big Data and increase in online data management, concerns around the protection of different kinds of sensitive personal information of individuals are being raised globally. Although India has realized the right to privacy, it is yet to roll out laws for protection of different kinds of datasets being used by the government, like Aadhar, DNA profiling, Aarogya Setu etc. The Draft Health Data Management Policy is a proactive initiative for protecting the health data of citizens before the creation of its repository.

Source: TH