Why Neftx is Cautious About Pursuing ABDM Certification

Why Neftx is Cautious About Pursuing ABDM Certification

At Neftx, our primary commitment is to the privacy, security, and well-being of our users. As the healthcare industry rapidly evolves, new initiatives like the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) promise significant advancements in healthcare delivery through digital integration and interoperability. However, we have chosen to be cautious in our approach to ABDM certification. Here’s why.

Data Privacy and Security Concerns

Broad Data Sharing Scope

The ABDM terms and conditions indicate that personal identifiable information (PII) such as name, address, age, date of birth, gender, and photograph may be shared with various entities within the National Digital Health Ecosystem (NDHE). This includes healthcare professionals, facilities, and data fiduciaries. The broad scope of data sharing raises concerns about potential misuse or unauthorized access.

Lack of Specificity

The terms allow for data to be used and shared for purposes notified by ABDM in the future, without clear definitions. This open-ended clause creates uncertainty about how the data might be used later, making it difficult for us to assure our users of absolute privacy.

Consent and Control Issues

Complex Consent Management

The process for revoking consent, although stated, is not clearly outlined. This complexity can make it difficult for both healthcare professionals and patients to manage their consent effectively, leading to potential inadvertent data sharing.

Potential for Coerced Consent

Healthcare professionals and patients may feel pressured to consent to these terms to access certain benefits or services, raising ethical concerns about the voluntary nature of the consent.

Data Security Risks

Aadhaar-Based Authentication

Using Aadhaar for authentication involves sharing sensitive personal data. If not properly secured, this information can be vulnerable to breaches and unauthorized access. The security of Aadhaar-based authentication remains a significant concern for us.

Exposure of Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

Sharing PII with multiple entities increases the risk of data exposure and identity theft. We are committed to ensuring that our users' data is protected to the highest standards.

Data Misuse and Commercial Exploitation

Cross-Promotion and Targeted Advertising

Aggregators could use combined data from the Healthcare Professional Registry and ABHA to target individuals with specific promotions. This could involve:

  • Patients: Using health records and demographic information to promote specific healthcare services, medications, or treatments, potentially exploiting their health conditions for profit.

  • Healthcare Professionals: Promoting specific tools, medical equipment, or continuing education programs using professional data for targeted marketing.

Profiling and Data Monetization

Aggregators might create detailed profiles of individuals (both patients and healthcare professionals) and sell this data to third parties for marketing and other purposes, without explicit consent.

Service Recommendations

Based on a patient’s health records, aggregators could push recommendations for affiliated labs, pharmacies, or healthcare providers, potentially steering patients towards specific services for financial gain.

Trust and Professional Relationships

Erosion of Trust

Uncertainty about data usage and privacy can erode trust between patients, healthcare professionals, and the institutions managing their data. Maintaining this trust is paramount to us at Neftx.

Professional Autonomy

Concerns about data privacy and security might affect the willingness of healthcare professionals to fully participate in digital health initiatives, impacting their autonomy and professional practice.

Conclusion

While the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) aims to enhance healthcare delivery through digital integration, the potential risks associated with data privacy and security cannot be overlooked. At Neftx, we are committed to protecting our users’ data and ensuring their trust in our platform.

Our priority is to ensure that any integration or certification aligns with our commitment to data privacy, security, and ethical standards.

We welcome your feedback and are dedicated to maintaining transparency as we navigate these important decisions.

Disclaimer: This blog post reflects our current considerations and is intended to foster an open dialogue about data privacy and security. We respect the efforts of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission and aim to collaborate towards shared goals of enhancing healthcare delivery.