India: NHA launches consultation on health data retention policy
The National Health Authority ('NHA') released, on 23 November 2021, a consultation paper on a proposed health data retention policy, launching a public consultation on the same. In particular, the consultation paper provides that, when formulated, the proposed policy would ensure uniformity in record retention, as well as compliance with applicable regulations, guidelines, and laws in India. More specifically, the proposed policy would minimise risks associated with personal health data, while also maximising the benefits from the use of the same. To this end, the consultation paper specifies key considerations in formulating such a policy, including, among other things:
- determining the scope of the policy, as well as the involvement and roles of stakeholders and healthcare entities;
- defining aspects of retention, such as duration, data classification, storage and maintenance, and uses cases for health records; and
- current practices in India and in other countries.
In this regard, the consultation paper confirms that while the proposed policy would fall within the ambit of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission ('ABDM'), formerly known as the National Health Digital Mission, the proposed policy may have implications beyond the ABDM ecosystem. Notably, the consultation paper also outlines a potential approach to record retention, noting that health data may be classified by in-patient, out-patient, deceased patient, and exceptional data and may be stored either permanently or for 10 years after the last entry.
Comments may be provided until 24 December 2021 via the ABDM portal.