- Pratyush Choudhury, Arjun Salyan, Prateek Sahoo, Ishika Mittal
In today’s time, a strong health system is inconceivable without a strong and resilient digital backbone. This was the foundation for the genesis of the concept of National Health Stack, which will be the second leg of Ayushman Bharat.
National Health Stack (NHS)—a digital infrastructure built with a deep understanding of the incentive structures prevalent in the Indian healthcare ecosystem. The NHS, a set of building blocks that are essential in implementing digital health initiatives, would be “built as a Common Public Good” to avoid duplication of efforts and successfully achieve convergence. Also, the NHS will be “built for NHPS but designed beyond NHPS” as an enabler for the rapid development of diverse solutions in health and their adoption by states. One of the major components of the NHPS includes the creation of National Electronic Health Registries (EHRs) which will be a single source of master health data of the nation.
However, there is a small caveat. Given the diversity of the country, it is difficult to maintain a common structure building on top of which rapid adoption would be possible. Hence, we propose the idea of a common digital prescription using which doctors will find it easy to update/add/create the digital medical profile of a patient/citizen of the country.
Moreover, in our country, the average time spent by a doctor per patient visit is around 1 minute. And we cannot expect the doctor to allocate time out of that window to be filling the digital profile. Hence, we also propose the concept of using a digital voice assistant which uses cutting-edge Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms to record and process the conversation between the doctor and a patient to fill the prescription automatically. The prescription will then be verified by the doctor and will be added to the EHR (Electronic Health Record) created as a part of the NHPS upon the consent of the patient.
Patients: All the medical history of the patient is stored in physical records such as prescriptions and medical files. This is an important source of data that, when made available digitally to researchers, can spur on potential breakthroughs in the medical field.
Doctors: All doctors, who are either associated with a public hospital or have their independent practice, write prescriptions and maintain patient records (even discharge summaries) manually today. Writing and storing them is a problem and deprives them of the time to focus more on understanding the ailments of the patient. Also, if we build the NHS along the lines of India Stack, the doctor would need to input all the details into the National EHR themselves which further worsens the condition.