Importance of Unified Health Interface in the digital development of Healthcare Sector
The need to embrace technology to remain relevant in the rapidly evolving healthcare scenario has become pertinent. Hence, to use the software technology, it is important to have robust IT infra like connectivity and lower cost of procuring hardware, etc. Only when infra is stronger, the software tools can be used effectively. Also, health care infra must be safe, effective, agile, interoperable, and scalable.
The National Health Authority (NHA) has developed a digital platform called Universal Health Interface (UHI) to provide a seamless infrastructure in the healthcare sector. It is like UPI- Unified Payment Interface for interoperability between various digital solutions to facilitate various stakeholders using disparate solutions to communicate.
Unified Health Interface is an open IT network. The entire development is to provide a digital platform for all health services. It is considered as a part of the foundational layer of ABDM (Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission). The idea is to empower the patients and providers with the most accurate, comprehensive, and curated information and care, enabling them to make better healthcare decisions. Under NDHM, UHI aims to enable the following things:
For health service providers (doctors, pharmacists, hospitals):
List of their services (appointment, teleconsultations)
Immediate access to user demand generated in UHI
Ongoing connectivity with existing customers
Access to health records in a single place
Facility to contact doctors immediately via the UHI platform
Easy digital health access to all Indians
Option to share information with healthcare service providers
Features to receive doctors’ prescriptions and lab reports digitally on your device
Availability of a wide variety of health services with the provision of full transparency
UHI acts as a market enabler. It is going to enable or create opportunities for everybody at various ends. In the coming days, there will be multiple scopes and opportunities. There are service providers who can help one store the data so that one can use the digital system efficiently. Standardizing the whole service is the future scope of development under UHI.
Just like UPI, the Unified Health Interface will play the role of a catalyst that will enable each stakeholder to adopt digitization or digital modes of health. All these will thus increase digital health penetration in India. Diverse stakeholders such as citizens, health providers, lab service providers, ambulance service providers, pharmaceutical drugs providers, etc. will get benefitted from UHI by receiving access to information that otherwise is not easily available. Some of them are:
Better coordination between doctors and patients
Improved efficiency for hospitals
Easy access to healthcare and medication for everyone
All your health records in one place
Promotion of sustainability by using no paper
UHI will enable a wide variety of digital health services between the patients and health service providers. Some of these services one can avail oneself are:
Booking OPD appointments with clinics or hospitals
Booking telephonic consultations
Discovering and booking lab and diagnostics services
Checking availability of facilities like critical care beds
Booking home visits or lab appointments for sample collection
Booking an ambulance in case of an emergency
Discovering pharmacies located near you
Moreover, due to these initiatives, new business models like assisted mode teleconsultations can happen easily. All various add-on services like OCR/ICR, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are going to become very big that could transform the whole thing. People working in the health tech sector, health space, or business space, in general, will probably come up with much more innovative and useful models. UHI aims at streamlining the digital health service experience for the providers of health services and the patient by establishing and standardizing the technology pathways that enable such services to be given.