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India - Smart Health

Date: 2024-05-27


India has faced medical and healthcare challenges for many years. As such, India is committed to advancing smart healthcare solutions through digital technology to tackle the health disparities stemming from urban-rural and socioeconomic divides. Furthermore, India plans to use smart healthcare to mitigate public health security risks caused by economic and developmental differences.


 Section:|OverviewAgenciesPolicies & StrategiesIndia-TaiwanInternational CollaborationTable



Due to a large territory and regional disparities in terms of development, India has long had trouble delivering equal access to medical services and healthcare. Thus, India plans to address these issues by promoting relevant technological advancements to enhance smart health solutions. In 2005, India launched the National Health Mission (NHM), which aimed to offer tailored solutions for both urban and rural health issues. Subsequently, the Digital India initiative in 2015 promoted the digitalization of public health by accelerating the adoption of digital systems such as the e-Hospital and the e-Blood Bank.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, India enabled medical professionals to quickly access patients' medical histories by establishing the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) to create a National Health Record Database. The NDHM also led to the development of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), which has integrated India’s citizenry into digital health insurance schemes while facilitating easier access to digital health services. These initiatives represent significant steps toward leveraging technology to enhance healthcare accessibility and delivery across India's diverse regions.




Related Agencies




Policies & Strategies

National Digital Health Mission (NDHM)
In July 2020, the National Health Authority (NHA) announced the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). Based on the National Health Policy, the NDHM aims to establish a comprehensive digital health ecosystem that spans the entire country, ensuring efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely, and secure medical services. The NDHM also seeks to facilitate the seamless flow of information among medical centers while safeguarding health-related data security, confidentiality, and privacy.

Building upon the NDHM's foundation, the NHA introduced the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) in 2021. This initiative has integrated India’s citizenry into digital health insurance schemes while establishing an online health information repository. By providing convenient access to superior medical services, the ABDM empowers medical professionals to make informed treatment decisions, thereby reducing medical disputes and errors.

The NDHM Ecosystem ©

The NDHM Ecosystem ©


National Health Policy (NHP)
Following previous policies introduced in 1983 and 2002, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) announced the third National Health Policy in 2017. This latest policy prioritizes enhancing the quality of healthcare and welfare services for Indian citizens while also addressing the economic burdens associated with medication and healthcare expenses. Notably, the third NHP reflects India's commitment to comprehensive and sustainable healthcare development by incorporating sustainability principles while aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Digital India
Recently, Prime Minister Modi launched Digital India, a comprehensive framework that has consolidated the country’s national digital policies. This initiative aims to make digital infrastructure an indispensable tool for all citizens, promote national digital empowerment governance, and enhance on-demand services. In response to Digital India and the promotion of smart healthcare, the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (MeitY) established the e-Hospital, the e-Blood Bank, and the Online Registration System (ORS). The e-Hospital functions as a platform that enables users to access online services such as registration, scheduling, and payments, as well as receiving diagnostic reports, and checking blood availability in government hospitals. Currently, over 50,000 onboarded users have been served at more than 750 e-hospitals (NIC, 2024).


National e-Governance Plan 2.0 (NeGP 2.0)
In 2006, the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG), the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), and the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions (MoPP&P) partnered to create the National e-Governance Plan 2.0 (NeGP 2.0). Essential to the success of Digital India, NeGP 2.0 addresses various governmental functions by including sectors and services such as agriculture, land records, healthcare, passports, police, courts, city administration, taxes, and the treasury. In terms of healthcare, the e-Hospital Online Registration Framework (ORF) simplifies citizens' access to OPD appointments with government hospitals.


National Health Mission (NHM)
In 2005, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) launched the National Health Mission (NHM). In 2017, India renewed the NHM. Currently, the NHM also includes the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM). The NHM primarily focuses on Health System Strengthening, Reproductive-Maternal-Neonatal-Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A), and Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases prevention and management. The mission aims to achieve universal access to equitable, affordable, and quality healthcare services that are accountable and responsive to people's needs.

  • National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)
    In May 2013, the Union Cabinet of India approved the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) as part of the broader NHM. This initiative seeks to address various determinants of health, including water, sanitation, education, and nutrition as well as social and gender equality. As such, the mission's objectives stress the establishment of a comprehensive, community-owned, decentralized health delivery system.

    The NRHM has achieved significant milestones, including the establishment of Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNCs). Facilitated by Panchayati Raj Representatives and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), VHSNCs have been instrumental in recording nutrition and health conditions across various villages while playing a crucial role in disseminating essential knowledge on nutrition. In addition, the NRHM has helped establish the Patient Welfare Committee, which underscores India’s commitment to uphold national standards in medical facilities and safeguard patients' rights and quality of care.

  • National Urban Health Mission (NUHM)
    The Union Cabinet approved the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as an integral component of the broader National Health Mission. It primarily targets health disparities among the urban poor and has aimed to streamline medical healthcare budgets while ensuring access to basic healthcare services. The mission has implemented these objectives by partnering closely with the Ministries of Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Human Resource Development, and Women & Child Development.

    Ten years after India initiated the NUHM, the government launched the National Urban Health Mission Framework 2023. This framework addresses emerging public health challenges, which include demographic changes and the growth of chronic diseases related to economic development. Inspired by Thailand's digital public health system, India has aimed to create a similar digital health ecosystem while developing technological human resources for its public healthcare system. This initiative reflects India's commitment to advancing digital health infrastructure. 




Collaboration: Taiwan and India

National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)
Overseas Science and Technology Innovation Center (STIC)
Under the Executive Yuan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP), the NSTC aims to strengthen international S&T cooperation while promoting the development of the humanities and social sciences. Thus, the NSTC funds research institutions to set up  STICs. These STICs use diversified and flexible methods to enhance substantive scientific research cooperation and technological innovation exchanges between Taiwan and New Southbound Countries.

Taiwan-Indian Joint Research Center on Artificial Intelligence Logo


Taiwan-India Joint Research Center on Artificial Intelligence – II|Duration: 09/01/2021–08/31/2024
In 2021, the Taiwan-India Joint Research Center on Artificial Intelligence – II, which is affiliated with National Chung Cheng University (CCU), collaborated with Sri Ramaswamy Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (SRM) to develop a Smart Epidemic Prevention System. This system integrated digital face recognition, facemask recognition, body temperature detection, and social media analysis. The Smart Epidemic Prevention System effectively help safeguard health on school campuses and in local hospitals throughout India.

Subsequently, CCU and SRM set a precedent for international academic cooperation while establishing a model for future partnerships by jointly publishing three articles on smart epidemic prevention (CCU SDGs, 2021) (CCU, 2022).

A CCU Team developing a thermal imaging facial recognition system  (Source: CCU/NSTC, 2020)

A CCU Team developing a thermal imaging facial recognition system 
(Source: CCU/NSTC, 2020)


In September 2022, CCU and SRM jointly established the Taiwan-India Living Lab on Big Data Analytics in India. The Living Lab has been committed to bilateral research in smart healthcare and aims to construct an International Smart Health network.

Principal Investigator Prof. Pao-Ann Hsiung highlighted that India, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, has long grappled with a shortage of medical resources. Thus, the Living Lab will leverage CCU's robust research capabilities in medical imaging, data analytics, and precision medicine to address India's pressing healthcare challenges. In addition to developing practical applications, both institutions will collaborate on research papers while pursuing further bilateral projects. The Taiwan-India Living Lab on Big Data Analytics also aims to further enhance innovative cooperation models in smart healthcare between Taiwan and India. (CCU, 2022) (Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, 2022)

Img: Unveiling ceremony for the Taiwan-India Living Lab on Big Data Analytics

Unveiling ceremony for the Taiwan-India Living Lab on Big Data Analytics
(Source: Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, 2022)


National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU)
The NYCU Department of Phonetics, the NYCU Department of Physics, National Taiwan University Hospital Hsin-Chu Branch and the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Linkou Medical Center Department of Nephrology recently partnered on an initiative to leverage low-cost semiconductor detection sensors to measure ammonia concentration in human breath. This innovative technology aims to enable rapid screening by establishing a correlation to ammonia levels in breath to chronic kidney disease in its early stages.

Recognizing the importance of extending these advancements to underserved populations, particularly in rural areas, these institutions signed an MoU with SRM in December 2022. This MoU has helped facilitate clinical trials of medical devices that utilize breath sensor technology. This partnership may help tackle India’s pressing challenge of the early detection of chronic kidney disease due to the country’s vast population and limited access to comprehensive blood examinations. (NYKU, 2022)


Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
In 2022, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India, and the Voice of Healthcare (VOH), jointly hosted a workshop called Collaboration on Digital Healthcare. Embedded within the Global Cooperation Training Framework (GCTF), this workshop marked a significant milestone as the first of its kind in South Asia specifically tailored to address India's healthcare landscape. Combining online and offline activities, the Collaboration on Digital Healthcare focused on discussion in digital medical systems while serving as a communication platform among medical device companies from Taiwan and India. (MOFA, 2022) (Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, 2022)

Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW)
National Cheng Kung University (NCKU)
In 2022, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) and VOH collaborated to host the prestigious VOH 6th International Conference Digital Healthcare 2022. During the event, Vice President Lai Ching-te (currently President) underscored Taiwan's thriving ICT industry and its global leadership in semiconductor technology. Vice President Lai also expressed optimism regarding the potential for significant achievements in digital healthcare by promoting further cooperation between Taiwan and India. This conference marked the sixth instalment of medical-related conferences jointly organized by NCKU and VOH. Leveraging insights from India's healthcare landscape, the conference delved into pertinent medical conditions, analysed future medical strategies, and translated these insights into fruitful discussion topics aimed at driving innovation and progress in the field (Office of the President, 2022).

In 2023, NCKU Hospital Superintendent Lee Jing-Wei and Jyoti Kaur, Vice President of President International Marketing & MVT at Yashoda Super Speciality Hospitals signed a landmark MoU. This agreement solidified a commitment to mutual cooperation in areas such as reciprocal visits, medical staff training, and collaboration on medical devices. Furthermore, the MoU aimed to promote the development of related industries in Taiwan. As part of this collaboration, NCKU Hospital extended invitations to 12 doctors for visits and training sessions. During their time at the hospital, these esteemed professionals had the opportunity to observe specialized medical practices and explore Taiwan’s advanced infrastructure for smart medication. Additionally, they had the opportunity to meet with NCKU Medical School Dean Shan Yan-Shen to gain insights into medical education in Taiwan. Their itinerary also included participating in medical device conferences and related exhibitions to enrich their understanding of the latest innovations and trends in the field (NCKU Hospital, 2023).




International Collaboration

World Health Organization (WHO)
During the World Health Organization’s virtual launch of the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH), Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya stressed the significance of the GIDH as a pivotal achievement of India's G20 presidency. Mandayiya highlighted the alignment of India's Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) with the overarching goal of establishing a seamless electronic health record system in the country, which demonstrated India's shared commitment with the United Nations (UN) towards advancing digital healthcare.

India's UN representative, Arindam Bagchi, emphasized how the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up digitalization globally. The pandemic pressed India to switch to digital medical records while managing vaccinations and offering verifiable vaccination certificates through the CoWIN platform. Bagchi highlighted the widespread benefits of initiatives like the ABDM and eSanjeevani, especially the latter, which has made healthcare more accessible to citizens by providing 140 million consultations as of 2024 (The Indian Express, 2024).


Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
At the ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN) in February 2023, the India-ASEAN Digital Work Plan 2023 was launched. The meeting was chaired by Minister of State for Communications Shri Devusinh Chauhan, emphasising India's dedication to advancing digital communication and fostering an inclusive society through widespread digital empowerment. India also expressed its keenness to collaborate with ASEAN nations on digital initiatives to promote mutual prosperity.

During the 2022 meeting, themed Synergy Towards a Sustainable Digital Future, ASEAN and India elevated their Strategic Partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). This significant milestone was built on the 2013 establishment of the ASEAN-India Centre (AIC) in New Delhi. In 2022, the AIC released a research publication titled ASEAN-India Partnership to Strengthen Global Health, which laid the groundwork for enhanced collaboration between India and ASEAN in smart healthcare (MoC, 2023)


United Kingdom (UK)
In 2021, the UK unveiled the 2030 Roadmap for India-UK future relations. The roadmap aims to create a mutually beneficial partnership by enhancing the well-being of their populations, boosting trade, and promoting technology coordination while addressing climate, clean energy, medical, and healthcare challenges. Article No. 18 of the Roadmap focuses on cybersecurity cooperation, particularly in safeguarding medical data and vaccinations to create a safer cyberspace. In 2023, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Philip Barton visited India to review the roadmap and reaffirm the commitment between the two nations (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, UK, 2023).

In September 2023, the Australian Digital Health Trade Mission visited Hyderabad to discuss an Australia-India trading plan. The delegation held discussions while touring public and private healthcare hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, telehealth, and remote health service providers. The participants said Australia shares India's vision of creating further citizen-centric decentralized healthcare. An Australian trade and investment commissioner acknowledged India's impressive accomplishments, which include one of the world's largest health insurance systems. Furthermore, this official stated that cooperation on smart health is inevitable given the shared commitment of both governments to this important goal (Deccan Chronicle, 2023).




Thailand's Policy on Sustainability & Environment

Agency Policy, Strategy, Project & Initiative

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)

National Health Policy

National Health Mission

- National Rural Health Mission

- National Urban Health Mission

- National Urban Health Mission Framework 2023

Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (MeitY)

Digital India

National e-Governance Plan 2.0

National Health Authority (NHA)

National Digital Health Mission

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)

National Chung Cheng University (CCU)

SRM Institute of Science and Technology (SRM)

Taiwan-India Joint Research Center on Artificial Intelligence - II

Taiwan-India Living Lab on Big Data Analytics

National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU)

Sri Ramaswamy Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (SRM)

Detection devices to measure ammonia concentration in breath


Keywords: #India  #Healtcare #Medicine


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