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Indu Bhushan, chief executive officer, National Health Authority
Indu Bhushan, chief executive officer, National Health Authority

‘An Aadhaar for health will let doctors share knowledge'

With 2020—a year that had people setting targets for transformation throughout the 2000s—just weeks away, Mint is inviting thought leaders to discuss what they believe will impact the decade ahead

Making health cover truly universal

There should be basic minimum health coverage to protect every individual against medical events because health expenses can compromise quality of life and push households into poverty. The aim is to expand this and achieve universal health coverage. The ultimate aim of the universal health cover is to ensure affordable quality healthcare services for all and reduce out of pocket expenses on medical care.

Sharing patient info across distances

IT infrastructure for health is the next big project the country will complete in the next decade. The health ecosystem needs reliable data and safe storage and interoperability. This will improve quality of medical advice as doctors anywhere will be able to access a patient’s medical history. Think of it like Aadhaar for healthcare. Interoperability of data will ensure that doctors are able to get information.

Tech to help settle claims faster

A strong health insurance system needs smooth claim settlement. Often that’s where things break down. The next decade should see the creation of a national health claims platform where hospitals and insurance firms interact for seamless settlement of claims. We are working on standardization of medical protocols for faster settlement. Doing this will also bring hospitals under some form of regulation.

Big data & AI to battle fraud

The coming years will see proactive use of big data and artificial intelligence to battle fraud. In addition, it will help us in identifying vulnerable geographies which will in turn help us develop policies that would suit these areas. Access and use of artificial intelligence will also help in improving the quality of service as we will be able to reach out to far flung areas and service them through telemedicine.

Taking medical care to small towns

Paucity of healthcare is a fact, but what’s worse is that healthcare is concentrated in cities. Moving to smaller towns has been a challenge. Lack of affordability for tertiary care will be solved with universal health coverage. This will make quality healthcare affordable and the demand would pick up in towns leading to more even distribution of healthcare.

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