India’s Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission issues health ID numbers to 500 million

India’s National Health Authority issued Ayushman Bharat health IDs to 500 million people, facilitating outpatient registration via Aadhaar. This initiative empowers patients to streamline outpatient registration by utilizing their Aadhaar digital ID card.

 Spiral, Coil

Under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), the National Health Authority (NHA) in India has issued Ayushman Bharat health account (ABHA) ID numbers to 500 million individuals.

The initiative allows patients to expedite outpatient registration using their Aadhaar digital ID card. Over 15 million people have already used the ABHA digital ID numbers, with 330 million health records linked as of 22 December 2023.

The NHA, aiming for widespread adoption, has introduced incentive programs and microsites to enhance accessibility and efficiency in healthcare services. NHA’s CEO, Dr R.S. Sharma, emphasizes the collective effort to extend digital health benefits nationwide, making healthcare more accessible and efficient.

Why does it matter?

India’s Aadhaar network, the national digital identity program, is expanding further with fresh connections and linkages in the digital ID ecosystem. Besides healthcare, a recent report indicates Karnataka’s plan, stated by Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, to link all Records of Rights, Tenancy, and Crops (RTC) with Aadhaar. The goal is to identify small farmers for streamlined drought relief and subsidies distribution. Nevertheless, the ABHA initiative will likely face scrutiny from privacy advocates, particularly in light of the recent CoWIN data breach incident, which has potentially affected hundreds of millions of individuals by exposing their Aadhaar or passport numbers.