In the spotlight
|The national digital health mission is an actively unfolding case study of the complexities public goods need to navigate.
Healthcare is a state subject. The push for digitisation in the healthcare sector is centre-led. This is problematic for a number of reasons:
- Health ID based access using a centralized protocol vulnerable to breaches/abuse in the absence of (binding) laws that regulate data analysis and processing.
- Any health intervention needs buy-in from the grassroots level (regulated by the states) and trust from different communities in order to succeed.
- Consent-based approach presents a false choice. Possibilities of exclusion or difficulties in accessing healthcare.
Some of these fears have already been vindicated:
30 to 40 million individuals’ data compromised in ransomware attack
It is particularly revealing to examine cases where consent is supposedly collected: is the consent meaningful or false?
The National Health Authority has announced that participation in the creation of digital health IDs is completely optional. BUT:
|AIIMS-Delhi, which sees a footfall of 15-18k a day and long delays, has made access to care easier if patient registers for ABHA IDs1.
Is a citizen with an urgent health need really in a position to opt-out?
|The use of the Co-WIN app is formally optional. But everyday life often requires it. 40% of all ABHA IDs originate from Co-WIN2.
Can a citizen who needs to install the
application to receive the vaccine really consent?