Individual data collected by the government from people who opt for the government's unique digital health identity (ID) number will have complete control over its usage, National Health Authority (NHA), the central government agency that is implementing the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) said.
All data linked to the Health ID will be anonymised before it will be made available to government agencies for policy-making or public health intervention purposes, the authority claims. NHA has already rolled out the scheme on a pilot basis in six Union Territories namely Puducherry, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep.
In an interaction with Business Today, Dr Praveen Gedam, Additional CEO, NHA said the individual will be the master of his or her data that is stored digitally under NDHM. "Security/privacy is inbuilt into the design. There is no way a hacker or a mischief monger is going to be allowed to enter into the system. We have enough expertise in our country to ensure that this data can be stored in an extremely secure fashion and Aadhaar is the best example of that. Similarly, the data will be owned by the data principal, the person to which the data belongs. It will not be possible for anybody else to access that data including the National Health Authority," Dr Gedam said.
According to him, the data will be accessible only to the doctor, only on the consent of the patient. "We will allow partial consent. Which means consent to access only selected medical records, or give consent to access for a limited period of time, and also provision to withdraw the consent, if need be, before the time is over. So patient will be the master of data, and in case the patient is incapable of giving consent, then the legal nominee who is supposed to give consent in the present physical system shall be in position to give consent. These legal features also take into account various guidelines laid down by Supreme Court in various judgements. I can assure you on behalf of government of India that the data privacy and security has been given paramount importance while designing this particular mission," he explained.
Health ID is one of three modules that are part of NDHM launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15. The other two are DigiDoctor and Health Facility Registry (HFR). While Digi-Doctor is a repository of all doctors practicing or teaching modern/ traditional systems of medicine, HFR is a repository of health facilities - both public and private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories and imaging centers, pharmacies, etc - of the country across different systems of medicine.