The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan virtually launched the Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) today, in the presence of Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare. Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat (Uttarkhand) was also present digitally. The Integrated Health Information Platform is the refined version of the presently used Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).
The virtual event was attended by Health Ministers of various States including Balbir Singh Sidhu (Punjab), Alexander Laloo Hek (Meghalaya), Dr K Sudhakar (Karnataka), Dr Prabhuram Choudhary (Madhya Pradesh), Jai Pratap Singh (Uttar Pradesh), Etela Rajendra (Telangana), TS Singh Deo (Chhattisgarh), Dr R. Lalthangliana (Mizoram), and S Pangnyu Phom (Nagaland).
Expressing his enthusiasm at the brave, futuristic and pertinent amalgamation of healthcare and technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated, “This day shall be written in Golden Letters as a day that marks a milestone in the history of disease surveillance. We have started a new chapter in India’s public health trajectory. India is the first country in the world to adopt such an advanced disease surveillance system.” He elaborated on the timely need for the software platform, “The new version of IHIP will house the data entry and management for India’s disease surveillance program. In addition to tracking 33 diseases now as compared to the earlier 18 diseases, it shall ensure near-real-time data in digital mode, having done away with the paper-mode of working”.
Terming this as the world’s biggest online disease surveillance platform, he stated that it is in sync with the National Digital Health Mission and fully compatible with the other digital information systems presently being used in India. The refined IHIP with automated -data will help in a big way in real-time data collection, aggregation and further analysis of data that will aid and enable evidence-based policymaking, he explained. He applauded NCDC, WHO and all those who have been associated with this development.
Dr Vardhan stated that IHIP will provide a health information system developed for real-time, case-based information, integrated analytics, advanced visualisation capability. It will provide analysed reports on mobile or other electronic devices. In addition, outbreak investigation activities can be initiated and monitored electronically. It can easily be integrated with other ongoing surveillance programs while having the feature of the addition of special surveillance modules.
He said that such an advanced digital platform for scouting the earliest signs of disease spread in the smallest of villages and blocks in the country will immensely help in nipping in the bud any potential outbreak or epidemic. He stated, “India has shown to the world that even during a pandemic, we are capable of developing such an advanced disease surveillance system.” He further observed that the platform is a success story of the ‘Make in India’ initiative and a step towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of AatmaNirbhar Swastha Bharat.
“Accurate, reliable and timely information is crucial for a country such as India which has a population of 1.35 billion”, he pointed out. India’s information system for precision public health is essential for delivering ‘the right intervention at the right time, every time to the right population.’ Pointing out that in recent years, the use of technology to enhance precision in public health, including the use of pathogen genomics, enhanced surveillance and informatics, and targeted interventions has steadily gone up, he cautioned that the success of this platform will also depend primarily on the quality of data shared by the states.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State (HFW) stated that India has established standards of quality in healthcare, “With IHIP, collection of authentic data will become easy as it comes directly from the village/block level; the last mile from the country. With its implementation, we are fast marching towards Atma Nirbha Bharat in healthcare through use of technology.”
Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary informed that in terms of the geographical coverage of the surveillance, along with the number of diseases covered and the quantum of data generated, this makes IHIP one of the largest such digital health platforms globally. Data will be provided in real-time through the grassroots healthcare workers through their gadgets (tablets); the doctors at the PHC/CHC/SHD/DH when the citizens seek healthcare; and the diagnostic labs which will provide data on the tests carried out.
Terming this as a ‘historic day’ not only for India for global public health, Dr Roderico Ofrin, WHO Representative to India stated that this refined digital surveillance platform will help to provide and connect data and move towards ‘One Health’ approach. He mentioned that the portal is a great resource for timely health response measures to be mounted; not only programming but also in disease prioritisation. He applauded India for this timely development.
Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Arti Ahuja, Addl. Secretary (Health), Dr Sunil Kumar, DG Health Services, Lav Agarwal, Jt. Secretary (Health), Dr Sujeet Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Dr Roderico Ofrin, WHO Representative to India were present at the launch. Principal Secretaries (Health), Commissioners (Health), MD (NHM) of States along with the senior health officials of the Union and State Governments also joined the event.