Open health data will help fix India's healthcare
By Rohitashva Agrawal  |  Jul 06, 2022
Open health data will help fix India's healthcare
Image courtesy of and under license from Shutterstock.com
Drawbacks aside, India will benefit from the vast potential of its medical data. The data of the country home to one-sixth of humanity form a force that must be harnessed for the betterment of its healthcare, urges Dr Rohitashva Agrawal in his contribution to The Yuan’s Open Data 2022 series that commemorates the 110th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth.

BANGALORE, INDIA - Healthcare is evolving rapidly across the world. It is one of the last frontiers in our daily lives where technology can still play a more significant role. In recent years, due to the significant increase in the penetration of technology in almost every field of human activity, healthcare has seen the emergence of debate around open data sources.(1) For a complex country like India, there are many advantages of using open data sources. They can unlock many more opportunities, and scarce resources can be optimized with much more precision.(2)

Some notable advantages of open access to data are: 

Improvement via societal engagement

Change is the only constant in life. For the slow-moving, mammoth-like Indian healthcare system, continuous improvement has been progressing very slowly.(3) India is a diverse country geographically, and it is also a cultural mosaic. Having an open system at the national level can help collect data at the grassroots level and encourage the active participation of community members.(4) Especially in India, data captured on legacy systems are not always very authentic and can also be an expensive affair.(5) Providing access to open datasets will help to identify macro trends and other key highlights that will in turn help improve care delivery,(1) e.g., the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) database can be provided for epidemiological analyses by experts at a population level.(6) Open access also helps identify bugs and gaps that will help in the evolution of the system itself.


Interoperability, accessibility

People across the world are becoming more connected. In India, which has the cheapest data at its disposal, ever more people are gett

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