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DISHA to Secure Patient's Data Under New Health Protection Scheme

Image for representation. (Image: Reuters)

Image for representation. (Image: Reuters)

The draft Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) will protect the storage, use and transmission of a patient's health data, collected by all 'clinical establishments’ and penalise those who breach these laws.

New Delhi: Amid all the talks and plans of an IT-heavy framework for government's new health protection scheme, the Union Health Ministry has released the draft of a law designed to protect health data.

The draft Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) will protect the storage, use and transmission of a patient's health data, collected by all 'clinical establishments’ and penalise those who breach these laws.

Clinical establishments here, means any hospital, clinical, dispensary, etc., public or private.

A body constituted by the centre under the Act, the National Electronic Health Authority of India, and its implementation arm the National Executive Committee, will formulate standards and operating guidelines for any collection, storage, and transfer of digital health data — identity details, financial information for payment, health condition, sexual orientation, biometric information, any government number including Aadhar.

Those found violating these standards can be jailed for up to five years and penalised Rs. 5 lakh.

The Authority can inspect the premises of any place holding and generating such data.

The owner of the data, the patient, can refuse to submit or not allow the generation and use of this data, with some exceptions, read the draft.

Last week that Union Health Minister JP Nadda had laid out a framework based heavily on digital data use for the Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM). Every beneficiary family will be assigned a QR code — a sort of barcode to be scanned and read by a machine — that can be used by any of the hospitals under the Mission, across India. This will include private and government hospitals.

"The NITI Aayog will meet with various IT organisations to create a secure framework that will also check malpractice by any hospital," said the minister.

Though the Draft law — open for comments till April 21 — does not explicitly mention that NHPM, it has come at the same time as the push to digitise healthcare, to make it portable from state to state under the Mission.