India releases draft health data management policy

Following the launch of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) in India, the National Health Authority (NHA), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), and the Government of India released the Draft Health Data Management Policy. The draft policy aims to ‘create the national digital health ecosystem that supports universal health coverage in a efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely, and safe manner’ by providing data, information, and infrastructure services while ensuring the security, confidentiality, and privacy of personal health information. The Indian government is seeking feedback on the policy from citizens and stakeholders. Civil society has raised their concern against the draft policy. Access Now’s Asia Policy Director and Senior International Counsel, Raman Jit Singh Chima, said that the draft policy would not adequately regulate the healthcare sector nor adequately protect Indian citizens’ health data, since India does not have a data protection law yet. He noted that the draft policy should be introduced only after a data protection act comes into force and an independent regulator is established.