Govt does well to cut costs and curb corruption; now needs to harness tech and deliver better

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Published: December 19, 2019 3:04:21 AM

That Ayushman Bharat has been able to get over 19,000 hospitals empanelled and caters for over 11 crore beneficiaries, of which 68 lakh have availed its service, speaks volumes about its success.

Ayushman Bharat is certainly benefiting the poor in the country

That Ayushman Bharat has been able to get over 19,000 hospitals empanelled and caters for over 11 crore beneficiaries, of which 68 lakh have availed its service, speaks volumes about its success. The scheme is certainly benefiting the poor in the country—a Rs. 5 lakh cover for beneficiaries in a country where, PHFI reports, 55 million people were driven to poverty due to out-of-pocket health expenses. Given its scale, the government working on bringing costs down is welcome—as per a Business Standard report, the government is mulling bulk-buying of medical devices like medical stents and selling it to its network of hospitals via its GeM website. If done correctly, this will ensure that hospitals get cheaper rates for medical devices.

While this is just one step, a recent interview by PM-JAY CEO in Hindu Business Line highlights that the government, by using technology, is also trying to curb instances of fraud. For all the good work done by the scheme, earlier this year, 111 hospitals were found cheating. Since July, the government has hired the services of SAS, MFX, LexisNexis, Optum, and Greenojo to use machine learning to detect such cases. While it is floating a tender to get more such companies on board, it would be better if India were also to implement Health Stack based on Aadhaar. An Aadhaar-based verification and storing of health records would ensure that cases of fraud and cheating are kept to the minimum. The government claims it was able to curb leakages worth thousands of crores using DBT; it is time it uses technology to save on healthspend.

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