The government on Monday approved a data management policy governing the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM).
The data management policy sets out the standards for data privacy protection for individuals and will be followed in compliance with relevant and applicable laws.
The policy states that personal data can be collected and processed with the explicit consent of the individual either physically or electronically. Prior to the collection of data, the data fiduciaries will also be required to specify the purpose and nature and categories of personal data being collected.
Data will be stored at the central, state and healthcare facility level, the policy notes.
The policy will work as a guidance for all players under the National Digital Health Ecosystem (NDHE), which includes individuals ID holders under the policy, healthcare professionals, governing bodies, health information providers and facilities, pharma companies and medical device manufacturers, insurers, central government and others.
The draft of the policy was opened for public consultation by the National Health Authority (NHA) in August 2020. A statement issued by NHA said that 910 comments and suggestions were received from stakeholders and the public on the draft.
“Many of these inputs and suggestions were found to be quite pertinent and deserving more attention. We have incorporated them to revise the draft policy and sent it to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for final review and approval. We are happy that the policy has been approved by the Hon’ble Health Minister and we can now start the field preparations for the roll-out of NDHM across India,” said Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO of NHA in the statement.
While the policy addresses data collected as part of NDHM, the Personal Data Protection Bill continues to be under review by a joint parliamentary committee.