CII Media Releases
"Through a common digital framework, India aims to create and curate Digital Public Goods, enhance access to these tools by nations across the world and promote standards for interoperability, data privacy, and data security"- Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Hon'ble Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare
Apr 16, 2023

“Through a common digital framework, India aims to create and curate Digital Public Goods, enhance access to these tools by nations across the world and promote standards for interoperability, data privacy, and data security”- Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Hon'ble Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare


Aligning with the G20 Health Working Group agenda on Digital Health Innovations and Solutions to Aid Universal Health Coverage and Improve Healthcare Service Delivery towards One Earth, One Family, One Future, CII organised the Digital Health Summit 2023 cobranded with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India on the theme ‘Building One Health together – Improving Health equity’ on 16th April 2022 at Goa, with the objective of bringing together policy makers, industry leaders, and global healthcare experts and thought leaders to deliberate upon key issues confronting the digital health space.

Making an impactful address at the Inaugural, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Hon'ble Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, began by describing India's vision of "One Health for One Earth" in accordance with the G20 Presidency's "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" or "One Earth, One Family, One Future". Elaborating upon the importance of digital heath innovations, she mentioned such digital innovations are powering game changers in exponential medicine, including 3D printing, point-of-care diagnostics, robots, bioinformatics, genomics, and is emerging as an enabler and equaliser. In addition to adoption, she emphasised that "citizen-centric" digital health systems with equitable access to high-quality treatments must evolve. A slew of GoI initiatives including the ABDM e-Sanjeevani, and AB-PMJAY as well as CoWIN and their role in strengthening creation of a digital health ecosystem in the country, with the goal of improving health service accessibility and equity were highlighted. With this, she made following key remarks that (i) re-aligning healthcare service delivery to the public to incorporate and use new technology is urgent, (ii) Emerging technologies like AI, the internet of things (IoT), Blockchain, 3-D printing in medical device manufacturing, orthotics, and prosthetics, etc. can help create a more holistic health ecosystem that improves health outcomes, equity, and cost and (iii) A global approach is often more effective and India under its G-20 Presidency has already prioritised digital health as one of its three health objectives, seeking global consensus on a global digital framework.

Dr Pramod Sawant, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Goa highlighted about how Goa is building one of best public health infrastructure in India and was first to launch universal healthcare insurance for the people in the form of Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva Yojana (DDSSY). The State has also been the 2nd fastest adopter of digital services in the country. Regarding digital health, he stated that healthtech is the most significant aspect of the fourth industrial revolution and is in its infancy. Providing strong support to startup systems is the key and Goa has been giving enormous support to promote startup systems providing patient centric care with help of health tech. He added that we need policy deliberation and regulation in this area, a national health policy that establishes digital health guidelines and paves the way for public-private partnerships to attract more investments in Healthtech.

Mr Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, giving an address on ‘Journey of Digital Health in India’, mentioned that the Covid-19 pandemic did not initiate the digital transformation of healthcare, but rather accelerated it. Telemedicine and telehealth were examples of digital health techniques that existed prior to the epidemic. Pandemic resulted in the development of numerous products that are considerably more attractive and enhanced the consultation between patients and physicians.  However, what is important is to understand that Digital health is for an end and that end is universal health coverage. We are not in the business of digital tech or interventions per se. We are in the business of universal health coverage, which is inclusive, brings equity, is preventive, promotive & curative. In this context, he elucidated on the various pillars comprising the overarching paradigm of Ayushman Bharat, with ABDM as a pillar denoting the creation of an ecosystem in which people create digital ids voluntarily, enabling the digitization of health data that can be transmitted to remote locations. For such an ecosystem to flourish, we need voluntary participation of everyone in the ecosystem and therefore, he urged all the stakeholders to agree on common pathways where we would be moving ahead, looking beyond India’s G20 presidency and achieving various milestones in the digital health and universal health coverage.

It is India's destiny to lead the Digital Health Mission of the world. We are wired to do it, we have made progress that is phenomenal, remarked Dr Vinod Paul, Member- Health, Niti Aayog while elaborating upon India’s journey of digital health and the way forward. Mentioning that the Government has already created a framework, fabric, platform and a highway, he urged the private sector to come forward with right thinking, ideas, vision and indeed solutions to use it for various products and possibilities. Talking about the telemedicine, he mentioned what is needed is building a trust in digital health systems, making it liable and ethically correct and consistent with society’s principles and with this, telemedicine system shall work in simple way. He also mentioned that there is a strong need of measurement for validation of digital health devices including wearable devices, AI equipment’s in health systems in appropriate settings, and thus, creation of an appropriate where technologies can be tested. It was stated that the government agencies Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, ICMR, and Niti Aayog are already working on implementing this system. Finally, he emphasised the importance of developing the capacity to assess and synthesise the vast amounts of digital data made available by digital health, since these data contain invaluable insights and are a public good.

Delivering his opening remarks, Mr Lav Agarwal, G20 Health Track Focal Point & Additional Secretary, MoHFW highlighted about how India is leveraging its G20 Presidency to create a framework which can reduce disparities in healthcare availability across the world and accelerate efforts towards value-based healthcare and achieving the goal of Universal Health Coverage. Speaking about India’s efforts, he mentioned that it was in the year 2018 that India moved a resolution on Digital Health at the WHO Headquarters which was unanimously accepted and now, India has identified, ‘Digital Health Innovations and Solutions to Aid Universal Health Coverage and Improve Healthcare Service Delivery’, as one of three key priorities for the G20 Health Track and prioritised to work towards creation of a connected digital health ecosystem that can converge global efforts by relevant stakeholders and promote digital solutions as digital public goods.

He went on to say that India has the potential to not only close skill gaps among its domestic healthcare workforce, but also to become a global exporter of healthcare professionals, and that in order to do so, global collaboration among all stakeholders is required in following areas- (i) building trust in the benefits of digital transformation among health workers and patients while minimising risks, (ii) advancing expertise and skilled workforce for effective use of digital technologies, and (iii) adapting the organisation of health service delivery and the related legal and financial frameworks.

In his introductory comments, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman CII Healthcare Council & Chairman and Managing Director, Medanta – The Medicity stressed that it is not just about ‘building one health’, rather about ‘one world, one health’, basis that the problems faced across the world are same and thus, solutions shall be global too. Speaking about digital health, he mentioned that digital has moved the quality of healthcare that we could give to the patients, especially to the critically ill to a totally different level. The digital reach has multiplied hugely. However, there are 3 fundamentals to be paid attention to –(i) every person should have true accessibility to decent healthcare, (ii) besides curative, there is a dire need to stress upon equity in preventive health and (iii) models of delivery of the highest standard of care at affordable cost.

Mr. Shashank ND, Chairman CII Subcommittee on Digital Health and Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Practo, spoke first, emphasising the role that Aadhaar and the UPI play in the development of digital health. He cited a few statistics, including that there are already 800 million internet users in India and with widespread adoption of digital public goods, India would have the greatest repository of health data in the world and that in the next decade, we would likely have closer to 40-50% of useful healthcare data with open usage of health data. Subsequently, he mentioned how AI is helping to revolutionise healthcare, and with the greatest healthcare data archive in the world, India will become the necessary raw material for all of the world's AI and LLMs, putting India in a pivotal position to become the best creator, manufacturer and exporter of AI products from India. Lastly, he mentioned that if Digital Health is unlocked to it's full potential, there is no doubt it can add 1% - 2% of absolute growth to the country’s GDP and this can happen through both, improvement in productivity of human capital as well as potential exports given India's leadership in digital health.

Mr Mark Pearson, Deputy Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) gave his comments at the Plenary Session- ‘A future-ready workforce that embraces Digital Health’. He stated that digital health has huge potential including providing access to healthcare and making healthcare more pro-active and less reactive. He argued that modifications to healthcare delivery and the definition of health itself are needed in addition to technological advancements. To effectively equip the workforce, we need better involvement of the workforce into influencing the design and nature of digital tech that comes in the market. In his final remarks, he emphasised the importance of focusing on three areas that need to change in order to improve digital health outcomes: (i) the development of digital health-related skills; (ii) the promotion of confidence in digital health innovations; and (iii) the establishment of efficient mechanisms for addressing concerns related to transparency, privacy, and data sharing.

Mr Luigi D'Aquino, Chief of Health, UNICEF India, speaking at the Plenary Session on ‘A future-ready workforce that embraces Digital Health’, reflected upon that the best way to design digital tools is to engage the beneficiaries and the workforce itself in getting their perspectives on what will work and how technology can help them. Further, he mentioned that the digital Healthcare industry needs to focus not only on service delivery, but also on all the systems that are behind it because that is the only way the health system as a whole can benefit from a comprehensive digital healthcare development.

The Session saw other enriching discussions on key areas like ‘Leveraging and compiling Health Data towards realising the Vision of ‘Health for All’; Innovating in Digital Health as well as Driving Investments in the future of Digital Health.


16 April 2023


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