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Data security plan proposed to protect citizen record under digital health mission

NHA says the draft policy is to provide adequate guidance and framework for the secure processing of personal and sensitive personal data of individuals part of the national digital health ecosystem in compliance with all applicable laws and international standards

twitter-logoJoe C Mathew | August 26, 2020 | Updated 21:13 IST
Data security plan proposed to protect citizen record under digital health mission

The National Health Authority (NHA) has proposed a draft health data management policy for the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's just announced flagship project - the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM).

While the draft policy keeps it voluntary for stakeholders to be part of the mission (NDHM) meant to create digital health records of citizens and create and maintain registries for healthcare professionals and health facilities, it provides a long list of do's and don'ts for individuals and institutions that opt for the project. It talks about prior-consent for use of individual's health data, provision to withdraw from the scheme and erase the data under certain conditions, and creation of digital health identities (IDs) for people, hospitals and diagnostic centres.

"The Draft Health Data Management Policy is the maiden step in realising NDHM's guiding principle of "Security and Privacy by Design" for the protection of individuals' data privacy. It encompasses various aspects pertaining to health data like data privacy, consent management, data sharing and protection etc," Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive Officer, National Health Authority said.

NHA says the draft policy is to provide adequate guidance and framework for the secure processing of personal and sensitive personal data of individuals part of the national digital health ecosystem in compliance with all applicable laws and international standards. This includes laws that define the set of frameworks of consent for the collection and processing of health data by healthcare practitioners and other entities and relevant standards related to data interoperability and data sharing.

The policy also aims to establish appropriate institutional mechanisms for auditing of the National Digital Health Ecosystem (NDHE) and to leverage the information systems existing in the Indian health sector by encouraging conformity with the defined data privacy standards and integrating such existing systems with the national digital health ecosystem.

The NDHM was announced on the 74th Independence Day of India, by PM Modi, as a means to enable timely and efficient access to inclusive, affordable, and safe healthcare to all citizens. The NHA will accept public comments and feedback on its draft data management policy till September 3, 2020.

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