Unified Health Interface

  • Recently, the National Health Authority announced the launch of the Unified Health Interface (UHI) under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).

What is Unified Health Interface?

  • UHI is an open network designed to enable interoperable digital health service delivery such as teleconsultation.
  • UHI will be powered by protocols built by an open community of developers and deployed on a Gateway built by the National Health Authority (NHA).

In Details:

  • NHA invites contributors and developers from the open community, especially those working in the digital health space to participate, build and contribute to Unified Health Interface (UHI).
  • UHI will be powered by protocols built by an open community of developers and deployed on a Gateway built by NHA.
  • The core protocols of UHI is to be the adoption of Decentralized Health Protocol (DHP). Meanwhile, NHA’s internal team has also been working on the same.
  • A version of the open protocols is available on Github platform at https://github.com/dhp-project and may be used to build health service applications. Any technology provider currently developing digital health solutions for Hospitals, doctors, labs or consumers can create innovative new solutions using DHP and become a part of UHI Network.

What is Open protocol development?

  • Networking protocols describe how computers can communicate with each other. The many protocols powering the Internet are standardized and open.
  • An open (nonproprietary) protocol is not owned by any particular company and is not limited to a particular company’s products.
  • The protocols in the Internet stack are open so that any computing device can follow the protocol to join the global network. There is no need to ask for permission to follow the protocols, or no need to buy particular hardware from the company that created the protocol.
  • On the other hand, some communication protocols are proprietary. As an example, Skype of Microsoft is a voice calling application that uses its own proprietary protocol to send and receive voice calls.
  • The Skype protocol is not publicly described anywhere and the Skype application is closed-source. That makes it very hard for anyone besides Microsoft (the owner of Skype) to develop applications that can send or receive Skype calls.

What is open source?

  • The term open source refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible. This term originated in the context of software development to designate a specific approach to creating computer programs.

What is open source software?

  • Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.
  • “Source code” is the part of the software that most computer users don’t ever see; it’s the code computer programmers can manipulate to change how a piece of software a “program” or “application”—works.
  • Programmers who have access to a computer program’s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don’t always work correctly.

What is proprietary or closed sourcesoftware?

  • These are those softwares which source code are accessible to the person, team, or organization who created it—and maintains exclusive control over it—can modify.
  • In the case of closed source” software, only the original authors of the software can legally copy, inspect, and alter that software.

What are the advantages of Open Protocols?

  • Software and Applications developed through open protocols can be included in a wide range of device types from any equipment Manufactures.
  • Since a very large number of different devices support open standard protocols, it’s easier to make them work together.
  • Open protocol systems offer a higher degree of networking flexibility, with more integration options between existing and new gear.

How technology can help to address India’s healthcare challenges?

  • India has a population of about 1.3 billion scattered across urban and rural India.
  • According to a report by the United Nations, 75% of all healthcare infrastructure including medical specialists and doctors are concentrated in urban areas where only 27% of the Indian population live.
  • Private hospitals and quality healthcare are limited to urban areas.Hence, it is imperative that technology and healthcare talk to each other seamlessly.
  • Technologies such as adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) is key to improving care, reducing errors and bringing about cost efficiencies by streamlining the clinical care processes to improve outcomes.
  • and mobile apps that seamlessly integrate provider and patient interactions will further boost the adoption of electronic health records.

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission:

  • Ayushman Bharat is a flagship scheme of India which was launched as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission:

  • It aims to provide digital health IDs for all Indian citizens to help hospitals, insurance firms, and citizens access health records electronically when required.
  • It will be issued for every citizen that will also work as their health account. This health account will contain details of every test, every disease, the doctors visited, the medicines taken and the diagnosis.
  • Health ID is free of cost and voluntary.

National Health Authority:

  • NHA is responsible for implementing the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. It works under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
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