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National Health Authority plans to incorporate nominee-based access to health data

Instituting nominees for health data access in emergencies has been a demand raised in public consultations conducted by NHA

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The National Health Authority is working on allowing nominees to grant consent to access health records on behalf of a patient in emergency situations, Abhishek Kumar, the authority’s IT director said on 4th December. Speaking at a webinar to simplify the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) for healthcare associations and doctors, Kumar said that in the new system an individual with a health ID may be able to appoint a nominee to manage their consent in cases of medical emergencies. “We are still working up on it and we have come up with this idea of nominees so that should take care of such scenarios (emergencies),” Kumar had added.

Nominees for situations of medical emergencies has been a demand stakeholders have put forth during consultation meetings on the health mission.

Currently under the health mission, data is shared through a consent manager framework based only on permissions from the health ID user which has raised concerns about access to such data when such a user is in a medical emergency or otherwise unable to give consent.


Is this a good move? What risks can patients face and what precautions should be taken by the NHA? Leave a comment


How is data currently shared under the ABDM?

According to the ABDM’s health data management policy data sharing under the health mission will be managed by a Health Information Exchange- Consent Manager (HIE-CM).  The HIE-CM will enable health records sharing between health information user (HIU), provider (HIP) or repository (HRP)- the different members of the ABDM- based on a user’s consent.

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Once a request to access their information is consented to by a patient, a consent artifact will be generated. Once this happens, the patient information is provided to the requesting party.

In brief: Progress on the ABDM

According to the ABDM’s latest consultation paper, it has currently operationalised three health registries and the HIE-CM. While there hasn’t been any consultation or paper released on the HIE-CM, the NHA has released multiple consultation papers on the Unified Health Interface (UHI), Health Professionals Registry, Health Facility Registry, NDHM draft implementation strategy, NDHM blueprint, data policy, sandbox framework guidelines, and such others.

The ABDM, previously known as the National Digital Health Mission, was rolled out nationwide in October after a pilot in 7 Union Territories for a year. Earlier MediaNama had reported that so far nearly 14 crore Unique Health IDs have been created under the mission, 96% of which are connected to Aadhaar cards with the NHA also recently enabling driving license-based authentication for UHIDs.

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Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. 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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