Aug 17, 2020

India launches digital health IDs

digital health records
health ID
India
digital healthcare
Leila Hawkins
2 min
India launches digital health IDs
The National Digital Health Mission will see the country’s healthcare sector undergoing a digital transformation...

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the launch of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), an ambitious project that's been two years in the making. 

During a speech on India's 74th Independence Day on August 15, Modi said that the NDHM will "revolutionise" the country’s healthcare. "Whether it is making a doctor's appointment, depositing money or running around for documents in the hospital, the mission will help remove all such challenges" he said. 

The aim of the NDHM is to provide everyone in India with a unique national health ID that contains all their health records in a digital format. It will contain details of illnesses, treatments, hospital stays and discharges, along with any tests the person has had since birth to the present day. Both users and healthcare professionals will be able to view these records. 

Although it is not compulsory, the government is hoping the scheme will attract a large proportion of India's 1.35 billion population. Those who don't wish to sign up will not be excluded from receiving treatment however. 

The idea for a health ID was first floated in 2017, when the government proposed creating a digital health system that would integrate information for citizens and stakeholders across private and public healthcare providers. It is expected that hospitals, online pharmacies, telemedicine firms, laboratories and insurance companies will take part in the new system. 

Additionally it is hoped the digital health ID will reduce preventable errors and improve quality of care, while making it possible for users to easily view their own medical records. 

The ID will be generated using a person's mobile number and address. All that person's medical data will then be stored onto their ID, which will reportedly be accessed via a mobile app. 

The government has issued assurances that personal data will be protected, and will only be shared with medical professionals once the user has given their consent, who remains the owner of the records. 

While the initiative has been widely welcomed, experts have emphasised that the privacy of people’s health data is vital. Measures to safeguard this include blockchain technology to ensure records are encrypted, consent when accessing and storing records, anonymising personal data and ensuring data stored in the cloud is secure from hackers. 

The NDHM will be piloted in several states before being rolled out nationwide. 

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May 11, 2021

Walmart, the next health tech giant - a timeline

telehealth
digitalhealthcare
medicationapp
virtualcare
Leila Hawkins
3 min
Walmart, the next health tech giant - a timeline
The retail giant looks set to focus on health tech. We look at key moments in Walmart Health's history...

Retail giant Walmart has been building its healthcare division for a number of years, but its recent acquisition of a telehealth firm and the slow down of its clinic expansion suggest its focus has now shifted to health tech. We look at key moments in Walmart's history in healthcare. 

2013

Walmart announces plans to provide "full primary care services" by 2020. The plans include opening clinics in underserved, urban areas, where the chain has many existing stores. 

2014

A series of “Healthcare Begins Here” events launch at Walmart stores, where consumers are given information on leading healthy lives, as well as free blood pressure, blood glucose and vision screenings, and access to vaccinations. 

2018

As part of the organisation's commitment to pursue a more data-centric approach to worker safety, Walmart partners with StrongArm, manufacturers of safety wearables. Staff begin wearing FUSE, a small sensor worn between their shoulder blades that detects injury risk. Within a year, ergonomic injuries decreased by 65%. 

2019

Walmart opens its first health centre in Dallas. The 10,000 square-foot "super centre" offers primary care, X-rays and ECG, counselling, dental, optical, hearing and community health services. Prices are affordable regardless of health insurance status. 

The same year a partnership with Doctor on Demand is announced, a telehealth company offering mental health services. As part of the agreement Walmart employees are able to access these services for free. 

2020 

The first health and wellness clinic opens in Springdale, Arkansas, providing primary care, dental care, vision and hearing services as well as behavioural health, fitness and wellness education classes.

Walmart acquires CareZone’s medication management technology. CareZone's app reminds users to take their medication and provides refill reminders. The acquisition complements Walmart's existing pharmacy service. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart is in talks with Verizon to implement 5G wireless service in select sites, to help boost digital health services. 

As part of its COVID-19 response, drive-thru testing is offered at hundreds of Walmart Neighborhood Market drive-thru pharmacy sites, free of charge through Humana

The retail giant teams up with the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer telehealth services to veterans at stores in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. 

2021 

Walmart Mexico signs a deal with Jack Nathan Medical Corp, a Canadian tech-focused healthcare provider. This will see 153 new medical clinics open within stores across Mexico, taking the total in the country to 203. 

Walmart announces it is acquiring MeMD, a multi-speciality telehealth provider. The acquisition will enable Walmart Health to provide access to virtual care across the US. At the same time it is reported that plans to open further clinics are deliberately slowing down. 

"Today people expect omnichannel access to care, and adding telehealth to our Walmart Health care strategies allows us to provide in-person and digital care across our multiple assets and solutions" Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president for Health & Wellness said of the announcement. 

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