ACCESS Health India and the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
While India had made significant progress against diseases like polio and tetanus, the pandemic revealed marked differences in COVID-related illness and death among the country’s most vulnerable. Urban-rural and other societal divides added to long-time disparities in access to health care, and public resources could be overwhelmed.
Could a new national health plan and digital health mission allow India to innovate on health care, with the goal of creating high-quality affordable health care for all? This case explores a multi-stakeholder, collaborative approach to understanding and leveraging new technologies that could integrate a complex, fragmented health care system. This ambitious effort would involve harnessing mobile technologies and expanding broadband access to provide critical digital health solutions for India’s large rural population. And this effort would capitalize on best practices and lessons elsewhere in the digital health ecosystem—allowing India to leapfrog the shortcomings of national health information systems that had emerged elsewhere in the world.