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Kerala’s answer to preventing lifestyle diseases may involve yet another health ID

The launch of the nationwide ABDM last year has evidently given fresh impetus to health digitisation projects, not just in Kerala.

The state government in Kerala which has the country’s oldest digital health system is planning to create a database of all adults over the age of 30. State health minister Veena George made the announcement during an event on November 6, according to a report by The News Minute.

Individuals will be issued health cards under the initiative which will be used to track and prevent lifestyle diseases, she said. “We plan to maintain a database with the help of MLAs, MPs and local self-governments for the purpose,” George added.

Since it is not clear if the project will be part of a larger health information management system (HMIS) like the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission or Kerala’s own eHealth Project, MediaNama reached out to George’s office for clarity and will update the report if a response is received.

Health data is regarded as sensitive data and its rapid digitisation in India has raised fears about its impact on user privacy, patient rightscybersecurity, etc.

Kerala’s eHealth Project

The eHealth project links health data of Kerala residents with their Aadhaar numbers, similar to what has been proposed under the nationwide ABDM. It was launched in 2017 after the state government reportedly won the Rs 96 crore health digitisation project from MeitY in 2013.  Like the ABDM, the project creates Electronic Health Records (EHRs) which are linked to the patients’ Aadhaar numbers and can be accessed by different hospitals; it also provides a dashboard for disease monitoring and deals with e-clinical services as well. EHRs are longitudinal health records of individuals, covering their health details potentially from birth to death.

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The government reportedly claims to have digitised health records of 2.58 crore people through the system which is operational at 86 hospitals in the state.

Multiple health digitisation projects at the state level

The launch of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission in 2020 gave fresh impetus to health digitisation projects at the state-level across the country, the former has already logged over 13 crore Unique Health IDs. It is also important to note that the ABDM has been rolled out across the country as well. After progressing through various consultations with stakeholders and a pilot programme, the ABDM was rolled out a few months ago.

Delhi: In October, the Delhi cabinet gave financial approval to the government’s eHealth card and Health Information Management System (HIMS) project.

Tamil Nadu: In September, the state’s health minister Ma Subramaniam announced that the government would assign Unique Health IDs to each of its citizens.

Bihar: In September, the state began a health digitisation project in its Nalanda district in partnership with health tech startup eHealth Systems.

Odisha: In August, the state started a health digitisation project related to mother and child health in various districts.

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Written By

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

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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