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IT for Change warns that proposed interface under NDHM might establish oligopoly in digital health

ITfC drew comparisons with the current UPI ecosystem to make a key point about the government’s proposed health interface.

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"..Unrestricted access to the UHI may also have adverse effects on the digital healthcare market, potentially enabling its dominance by a few market players," Bengaluru-based IT for Change (ITfC) said in its submission to the National Health Authority (NHA) on the proposed Unified Health Interface (UHI). This quote largely formed the premise of ITfC's submission regarding the NHA's consultation paper on UHI. The NHA proposed the UHI on July 23, inviting comments from stakeholders on what would form the second-last layer of the National Digital Health Mission - the Indian government's attempt at creating a digital health ecosystem. The proposed UHI decides how digital health services will be integrated with the NDHM - including how NDHM data will be accessed by healthcare service providers while ensuring quality control.  In its submission, ITfC raised privacy concerns and concerns that the UHI might potentially lead to an oligopoly in healthcare, based on the current situation in the similarly-designed Unified Payment's Interface (UPI). ITfC's submissions to the NHA 1. On the Open Network Approach The NHA proposed that an Open Network Protocol could be used for dispensing digital health services that are based on shared technical standards which will allow healthcare service providers as well as patients to use one platform.  What ITfC said: In response to the NHA's question on benefits and risks foreseen in an open network protocol/approach to UHI, the ITfC drew comparisons with the UPI ecosystem, from which the NHA has self-admittedly drawn design inspiration. "In the case of the UHI,…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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