ABDM: The Cornerstone of India’s Digital Healthcare Infrastructure

The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) is being promoted as the backbone necessary to support the digital health infrastructure of the country.  But, what is ABDM? How does it help you? And will it impact your practice?

India’s healthcare sector is on the cusp of a revolutionary transformation—and this transformation, backed by government-led initiatives and public-private partnerships will happen sooner than we anticipate. If you’re a healthcare professional, you’ve probably seen first-hand how technology has evolved over the last few decades. From humble calendar management and teleconsultations to online prescriptions, health records and even surgeries, technology has almost become a mainstay in clinic practices.

 In keeping with its name, the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission aims to take this technology that doctors are already familiar with to a pan-Indian audience by incentivising healthcare professionals and establishments to digitise their operations, access more patients and provide better care to a larger group of people in a convenient, timely and efficient manner. Built on the solid blueprint of Digital India that successfully transformed our country into a digitally empowered society, ABDM aims to create an integrated and interoperable digital healthcare ecosystem that is beneficial to all its stakeholders including doctors, patients, health facilities, researchers and policy-makers. 

So, what exactly is the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission? 

Simply put, ABDM is a government-led initiative that is focused on strengthening the accessibility and equity of health services. By leveraging existing IT and associated technologies and systems, and the current digital infrastructure of the country, ADBM aims to create a holistic healthcare ecosystem that is digital, seamless, efficient, timely and accessible to anyone with a smartphone. 

While Practo has been digitising the Indian healthcare ecosystem since its inception in 2008, the ABDM will further take it to a wider audience and ensure that the digital technology, telemedicine and teleconsultations reach people living even in the most remote corners of our country. ABDM will do so by bringing together different stakeholders within the healthcare system like patients, doctors, health facilities and digital health applications together under an interoperable ecosystem. 

ABDM began its Phase 1 implementation with ABHA Account or ABHA ID to standardise the process of identification. Just like Aadhar, ABHA ID will be unique to each individual and will allow identification, authentication and access to the various components within the ABDM ecosystem. As of December 19, 2022, 29 crore citizens have generated their Ayushman Bharat Health accounts and 4 crore+ health records have been securely uploaded online—indicating the common public’s growing acceptance of this far-reaching initiative. This implementation, along with other initiatives undertaken by NHA is expected to significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of healthcare delivery in our country. 

Components of ABDM

In addition to ABHA ID, ABDM also includes the following components:

  • Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR): A comprehensive repository of all healthcare professionals across modern and traditional medicine .
  • Health Facility Registry (HFR): A comprehensive list of health facilities including private and public clinics, hospitals, diagnostic and imaging centres, pharmacies etc.
  • Personal Health Record (PHR): An electronic form of medical record of an individual which conforms to nationally recognised interoperability standards. The PHR is managed, shared and controlled by the individual and can be drawn from multiple sources like Practo. 
  • Unified Health Interface (UHI): A core foundation of ABDM, UHI is similar in concept to the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) where you can make payment to a PhonePe account using a UPI ID from either GooglePay or Paytm, UHI will enable you to consult patients even outside of the Practo ecosystem using just a single Practo Ray account. Start your trial today.

Benefits of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

ABDM was created with a vision to build a healthcare ecosystem that supports and empowers universal health coverage. All components within ABDM are designed to seamlessly work together and facilitate effective exchange of information between patients, doctors, policymakers and researchers. 

Patients: Through ABDM, patients will get the choice to access both public and private health services thus ensuring transparency in pricing and accountability for health services being rendered, making it easier for patients to get access to high quality healthcare services with ease. Patients will also be able to store, access and share their medical records to ensure appropriate treatment and follow-up. 

Healthcare professionals:  ABDM allows healthcare professionals across disciplines to have more discoverability. Irrespective of which healthtech platform they are registered on, they will be allowed to serve patients across the ABDM ecosystem using the Unified Health Interface. Through PHR, healthcare professionals will also have better access to patient’s medical history empowering them to make more informed decisions and also upkeep continuum of care through teleconsultations. 

Policy-makers: Through macro and micro-level data collection, which is completely based on the patient’s discretion, policy-makers will have a better chance of taking preventive measures and implementing health programmes and policies that are more effective and efficient. The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission facilitates a comprehensive feedback loop between researchers, policy-makers and providers. 

Healthcare professionals are one of the core tenets of the ABDM ecosystem 

As a professional who provides digital healthcare services, you are already helping shape the country’s digital healthcare ecosystem. With ABDM, you now get an opportunity to take this one step ahead by registering yourself as a Doctor on the national database (Healthcare Professional Registry), help create a longitudinal healthcare database with digital lab reports, discharge summaries and more (PHR), and offer consultation services to a large pool of people using Unified Health Interface (UHI). All you need is access to a technology platform like Practo, that is UHI compliant and can act as a gateway into the ABDM ecosystem. Practo has already integrated its operations with ABDM and has helped over 1L+ doctors digitise their healthcare services since 2008. 

 ABDM aims to change the face of digital healthcare delivery in India, and now, with Practo, you can be a part of this revolution too.  Start your trial here

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Practo

Practo is on a mission to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible for over a billion+ Indians. India’s leading integrated healthcare company it connects the entire healthcare ecosystem together – including patients, doctors, surgeons, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and diagnostics – to generate exceptional value and service for all, especially the end consumers.

As technology becomes an integral part of healthcare, Practo has also become an essential enabler in helping doctors understand the nuances of managing and securely storing all health data. Practo encrypts all data with 256-bit encryption, uses HIPAA-compliant data centers, and is one of the few healthcare companies to be ISO 27001 certified. Practo is present in 20+ countries, helping over 30 crore patients, by connecting them with 1 lakh+ verified doctor partners.

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