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NDHM & What it means to be Integration Ready

5 minutes read

The healthcare industry in India has been steadily growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 22% since 2016 and is expected to reach USD 372 billion in 2022. 

NITI Aayog released a report titled ‘Investment Opportunities in India’s Healthcare Sector’ published by PIB which states that “The Indian Healthcare market is expected to reach $190 Bn by 2020; $372 Bn by 2022 at a CAGR of 39% The digital healthcare market in India was valued at INR 116.61 Bn in 2018, and is estimated to reach INR 485.43 Bn by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~27.41% during the 2019-2024 period.” 

The expansion of private hospitals to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities is looking like an attractive investment opportunity in the hospital segment. With respect to the pharmaceutical industry, India is likely to boost domestic manufacturing, supported by recent Government schemes under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

Wellness tourism, under the medical value travel diaspora, has given an impetus to the rise of alternative medicine and treatment prospects. Technology, by way of innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI), wearable technologies, and the Internet of Things, also offer multiple avenues. 

The Indian healthcare system is fast-moving towards a wellness-driven model of care delivery from an otherwise historically siloed and episodic intervention approach. This streamlining of the healthcare system creates a wealth of new opportunities for healthcare enterprises and institutions. The hospital industry in India accounts for nearly 60% of the overall health ecosystem’s revenues. The addition of new frameworks for Health ID, PHR, telemedicine, and OPD insurance will create macro-level demand beyond local in-patient catchment zones.

Traditional modes of healthcare delivery are being phased out in favor of new and disruptive models. The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent waves have changed consumer demand and given a big push for the need for a digital healthcare ecosystem. 

Source: Mantra Labs Whitepaper, March 2021

The National Health Stack (NHS), a digital platform with the aim to create universal health records for all Indian citizens by 2022, aims to bring both central and state health verticals under the same umbrella. 

The action plan to fulfill the creation of the NHS is laid out in the National Digital Health

Blueprint (NDHB), which also outlines the vision for Universal Health Coverage, that’s been in the pipeline for India’s underprivileged. This is where the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) comes into the picture, as the entity responsible for the successful implementation of the aforementioned Blueprint and subsequent Health Stack. 

The blueprint recommends two building blocks namely, Personal Health Identifier (PHI), and Health Master Directories & Registries, for handling the requirements of a unique identity (much akin to Aadhar) of persons, facilities, diseases, and devices. These building blocks that India is creating for its 1.4 billion citizens are said to be equipped with an interoperability option to seamlessly access digital records.

With rapid rates of digitalization and increasing demands from connected consumers, an integrated ecosystem will allow healthcare providers to deliver value-based care and outcomes in a real-world scenario. The NDHE can potentially create over US$200 billion in economic value for the health sector, over the next 10 years, according to BCG analysis. 

The National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) underlines key principles which include domain perspectives namely, Universal Health Coverage, Security & Privacy, Education & Empowerment, and Inclusiveness of citizens; and the technology perspective namely, Building Blocks, Interoperability, a set of Registries as single sources of truth, Open Standards and Open APIs.

Source: Mantra Labs Whitepaper, March 2021 

How integration-ready are we? 

Most hospitals in India continue to use paper-based medical records and verbal procedures to communicate among doctors and nurses for a patient’s treatment. This causes serious implications such as lack of transparency, lack of accountability, error-prone treatment, non-integrated patient health records, difficulty to understand the past medical history, poor collaboration within a team of doctors, a higher threat to infection, and a lack of progress towards adopting AI/ML-based technologies. As the consumer is being ushered into the ‘age of experiences‘, the onus is on digital healthcare enterprises to make them more relevant, emotional, and personalized.

Source: Mantra Labs Whitepaper, March 2021

An integration engine is not only an interface engine but also a healthcare integration platform that supports the day-to-day operations of a care delivery organization. From interfaces to workflow to operational decisions, integration engines assist in modernizing the healthcare system.

Source: Mantra Labs Whitepaper, March 2021 

By preparing for integration readiness, healthcare providers can access new patient demand pools from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, identify insights about the health consumer’s lifecycle needs, and leverage new technologies to draw in more value from these interactions than ever before.

As a result, hospitals will be able to drive improved margins from reduced administrative costs and gain higher utilization through increased demand. 

Healthcare experiences future will include insights harnessed from data and human expertise to bring sensory value to each interaction, in other words, the integration of IX or Intelligent Experiences.

Read our detailed Digital Health whitepaper to get more insights into NDHM and what it means to be integration-ready. 

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