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Health Ministry to launch National Health Portal soon

Suja Nair Shirodkar, Mumbai
Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Union health ministry is planning to launch a National Health Portal in the country soon. The initiative, first of its kind, is intended to narrow down the demand supply gap in healthcare services with Information Technology will be managed by National Knowledge Commission.

It is understood that top government officials from the Ministry will be meeting stakeholders from across the country in Delhi on June 8, to ideate and deliberate over the best possible ways to effectively implement and adopt this technology. The meeting will primarily focus on ways to make this portal available and easily accessible to even remotest areas of the country, as it is this section of the society that actually needs this facilities.

This portal is expected to serve as a single point of access for consolidated health information, application and resources on the sector and aim to cater to a wide spectrum of users from citizens, to students, healthcare professionals and researchers. The government is already said to have released a draft copy of the plan to select members, on implementation of this portal. Many from the industry feels plan lacks the essential component that will help it to be acceptable among the general public.

Rajendra Pratap Gupta, chairman, HIMSS Asia Pacific India Chapter informed that such an interactive session with the government was felt essential as the initial draft on the National Health Portal, was not well suited to meet the demand of the rural India and addressed only certain section of the society.

“Effective implementation of such a portal can only be claimed when it is widely accessible and used by  a larger section of the society. However the draft in its given form does not unfortunately cater to the needs of the rural India, who makes up the larger chunk of the country's population.  It must be understood that hardly one per cent of the total population in the rural India has access to uninterrupted internet connection. Thus steps must be taken by the government to ensure that this website is also designed to be made compatible for those who can access it through other viable options like mobile version etc. while launching this portal,” he added.

He further suggested that to ensure better patient serviceability, the government should also take steps to link and map this software with the local geography of the users. Then only they can be guided in time, to local government hospitals, doctors, ASHA centres etc. for their their healthcare related problems.

Interestingly, HIMSS, a not-for-profit organisation exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of IT and management systems for the betterment of healthcare system is arranging this meeting which will be attended by Dr Suptendra Nath Sarbadhikari, project director, Centre for Health Informatics of the National Health Portal.


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