The Union Health Ministry has taken a comprehensive approach to protect the National Digital Health Ecosystem from potential security threats across its computational layers. As part of this initiative, the Government of India has introduced the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), which aims to establish a platform for seamless interoperability of health data within the healthcare ecosystem, creating a longitudinal Electronic Health Record (EHR) for every citizen.
The ABDM operates on the principle of ‘Privacy by Design’ and follows a federated digital architecture, ensuring that there is no centralized repository of data. Instead, secure data exchange takes place among authorized stakeholders on the ABDM network, with the explicit consent of the patient. The National Health Authority oversees the implementation of ABDM.
To uphold security and privacy, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, released the Health Data Management Policy (HDM Policy) on 14th December 2020. This policy sets forth the minimum standards for privacy and data protection that all participants and stakeholders within the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) ecosystem must adhere to. Notably, no data can be shared with any other entity without the individual’s consent.
To ensure robust security measures, the National Health Authority has engaged a Ministry of Electronics and IT empanelled Tier 3 cloud service provider. This provider is responsible for designing, developing, implementing, operating, and maintaining the IT solutions for ABDM.
Moreover, the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Data Protection Officer regularly review the security safeguards and take appropriate actions to update and reinforce these measures.
The Union Health Ministry has devised a specific model, taking into account the security requirements necessary to protect the entire IT ecosystem from a wide range of security threats. This model encompasses compliance, infrastructure, application, and other security domains, providing a comprehensive and safeguarded digital health ecosystem for the nation.