Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission: Making healthcare accessible

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India has demonstrated its digital prowess by building digital public goods (DPG) — the digital identity system Aadhaar, the DPGs built on top of Aadhaar, and the Unified Payments Interface.

  • Aadhaar has become central to India’s public service delivery architecture, and UPI has transformed how payments are made. 

About Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)

  • It was launched in  September 2021, under the aegis of the National Health Authority.
  • It aims to promote digitization of healthcare and create an open interoperable digital health ecosystem for the country.
  • It aims to develop the backbone necessary to support the integrated digital health infrastructure of the country. 
  • Objectives: To build the foundation for a sustainable digital public infrastructure for health, enabling India to achieve universal health coverage.
    • The mission embodies G20’s theme of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth. One Family. One Future”.



  • ABHA Number: It is important to standardize the process of identification of an individual across healthcare providers.
    • It will be used for the purposes of uniquely identifying persons, authenticating them, and threading their health records (only with the informed consent of the patient) across multiple systems and stakeholders
      • With the ABHA and its associated Personal Health Record (PHR) app, citizens can link, store, and share their health records to access healthcare services with autonomy and consent.
  • Unified Health Interface (UHI): It is envisioned as an open protocol for various digital health services.
    • UHI Network will be an open network of End User Applications (EUAs) and participating Health Service Provider (HSP) applications.
      • To give UHI the necessary push, the government is repurposing Aarogya Setu and CoWIN. Aarogya Setu is being transformed into a general health and wellness application.
  • Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR): It is a comprehensive repository of all healthcare professionals involved in the delivery of healthcare services across both modern and traditional systems of medicine. 
  • ABHA Mobile App (PHR): A PHR is an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be drawn from multiple sources while being managed, shared, and controlled by the individual. 
  • Health Facility Registry (HFR): It is a comprehensive repository of health facilities of the nation across different systems of medicine. It includes both public and private health facilities including hospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories, imaging centers, pharmacies, etc.
    •  Enrolling in the Health Facility Registry will enable them to get connected to India’s digital health ecosystem.


  • Digital health solutions played a crucial role in bridging the gap in healthcare delivery as systems moved online to accommodate contactless care.
    • It has bridged the existing gap amongst different stakeholders of the Healthcare ecosystem through digital highways.
  • India leveraged information and communications technologies (ICTs) during the pandemic.
    • Aarogya Setu provided real-time data on active cases and containment zones to help citizens assess risk in their areas.
  • ABDM has established a robust framework to provide accessible, affordable, and equitable healthcare through digital highways.
  • It has implemented vital building blocks to unite all stakeholders in the digital healthcare ecosystem. 
  • It has proven to be a valuable asset and its adoption across states has been accelerated by the National Health Authority.
    • With more than 300 million ABHAs and 50 million health records linked, the mission is growing rapidly.

Challenges /Concerns 

  • Privacy issues and the acute shortage of healthcare professionals.
  • the availability of the private sector is not homogeneous and it can’t provide quality service which is charged transparently and affordable to the common man. 
  • Other issues: lack of access to technology, poverty, and lack of understanding of the language in a vast and diverse country like India are problems
    • Lack of infrastructure.

Conclusion and Way Forward 

  • It has become clear that a comprehensive digital healthcare ecosystem is necessary to bring together existing siloed efforts and move toward proactive, holistic, and citizen-centric healthcare.
  • With the implementation of digital solutions, the next step is to digitise and automate the insurance claim settlement process through the Health Claim Exchange platform. 
  • The government is also planning to expand its digital initiatives in the healthcare sector with Heal by India, making India’s healthcare professionals’ services available worldwide.
    • Additionally, a platform is being developed to automate the allocation of deceased organ and tissue donations, making the process faster and more transparent.
  • India’s public health system has to be strengthened and rejuvenated much more.
  • Data protection measures will have to be robust to preserve personal information.


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