“Even a whisper becomes noise when the potential is 500 million people,” says the co-founder of one of the largest Indian healthcare startups. And there are many interested in that potential number. The conference rooms of Niti Aayog and the health ministry in central Delhi are always occupied. Visitors include representatives of international organisations including the World Bank and the World Health Organisation, health tech startups, insurers, hospital associations, IT companies, and of course, consulting companies, who want to design the programme touted as ‘the world’s largest’.
Ayushman Bharat: An alphabet soup short on ingredients
Executing the world’s largest public health scheme is harder than the government had imagined. Since then, it has pushed the distress button and every healthcare company has swooped in to save it, but Practo may play the ultimate knight in shining armour
Health tech startups, insurers, hospital associations, IT and consulting companies. All are lining up to partner with the government for Ayushman Bharat—a programme with a $1.54 billion budget
The programme’s backbone will be electronic health records (EHR), but the health ministry has put building the EHR platform on hold to roll out Ayushman Bharat before 2019 polls
The health ministry and Niti Aayog are instead considering health tech startup Practo to build a different kind of platform
In the meantime, the central government has asked state governments to start collecting health data from the 40% population that will be covered under the scheme