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Journal Articles Social science & medicine Year : 2023

Digital health for all: The turn to digitized healthcare in India


In India, the use of digital technologies has become the key to the everyday operation of the welfare state in terms of accessing essential and life-sustaining entitlements. In this context, our article explores the genesis of India's digital turn in healthcare and maps the characteristics of a ‘digital health for all’ policy, based on empirical analysis of India's first digital-based universal health coverage programme – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) – with fieldwork material from the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Being a smart-card-centred programme, RSBY marks the genesis of a digital approach to healthcare in India. The experiences of this scheme hold crucial implications for the digital healthcare landscape in India, as in the past its promoters pitched for its use to provide quality healthcare at lower cost. The technological design of the programme illustrates the construction and politics of a digitalized public-private welfare policy intended to meet the health needs of the poorest. By examining data on digital access to healthcare in the RSBY programme, as propounded and sustained by public health policies and a public-private model of governance, our article raises questions about the construction of new digital health policies and their contribution to private health markets. In doing so, it explores the key question of how digital technologies are transforming access to healthcare in India.
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hal-03765569 , version 1 (31-08-2022)



Marine Al Dahdah, Rajiv Mishra. Digital health for all: The turn to digitized healthcare in India. Social science & medicine, 2023, 319 (114968), ⟨10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.114968⟩. ⟨hal-03765569⟩
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