Explained: National Health Stack (NHS) and National Digital Health Blueprint


National Health Stack (NHS):

  • NITI Aayog unveiled the blue print of National Health Stack (NHS) in 2018
  • NHS is a shared digital healthcare infrastructure. It envisages a centralised health record for all citizens.
  • It is in line with the implementation of the Centre’s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat and other public healthcare programmes in the country.
  • It aims at making the health insurance system more transparent and robust. Further, centralised healthcare data will allow policy makers to further build their projections around upcoming outcomes, experiment with new services as well as fill the existing gaps in the Indian healthcare industry.
  • The key components of the National Health Stack are—
  • National Health Electronic Registries: to create a single source of truth for and manage master health data of the nation;
  • A Coverage and Claims platform: building blocks to support large health protection schemes, enable horizontal and vertical expansion of RSSM by states and robust fraud detection;
    • A Federated Personal Health Records (PHR) Framework: to solve twin challenges of access to their own health data by patients and availability of health data for medical research, critical for advancing our understanding of human health;
    • A National Health Analytics Platform: to bring a holistic view combining information on multiple health initiatives and feed into smart policy making, for instance, through improved predictive analytics;
    • Other horizontal Components: including unique Digital Health ID, Health Data Dictionaries and Supply Chain Management for Drugs, payment gateways etc shared across all health programs.

National Digital Health Blueprint (NHDB)

  • It was released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in July 2019.
  • Vision: To create a National Digital Health ecosystem that supports Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
  • It focuses on providing an efficient and affordable health coverage through a wide-range of data and infrastructure services using open digital systems that will ensure security and privacy of personal information.
  • Key recommendations:
    • It has recommended setting up of a National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) to manage enormous amounts of health data generated by Ayushman Bharat and other health schemes.
    • The NDHM would provide technology to manage and analyse data and create a system of personal health records and health applications. Further, central to the ecosystem would be a Personal Health Identifier (PHI) to maintain a Personal Health Record (PHR).
    • The PHI would contain the names of patients and those of their immediate family, date of birth, gender, mobile number, email address, location, family ID and photograph.
    • It has also suggested a Command, Control and Communication Centre (CCCC) as a single point of contact in public health emergencies.
    • It has also recommended to use Aadhaar-based identification of patients for maintaining health records.