Click, Scan, and Pay– in the last few years, financial transactions in India have catapulted into a space of immense change and impact creating a transparent and seamless banking experience for all, thanks to UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and its role in spearheading this change.

From luxury restaurants to local kirana stores, UPI has permeated through different stratas of the society, driving financial inclusion from both unbanked and underbanked populations.

Since its launch by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2016, UPI has been focused on improving accessibility and simplifying the process of transferring funds. Infact, UPI is now deemed as a breakthrough payment system that has not only touched the far corners of the country but also draws admiration from global ministries for its revolutionary prowess.

Taking inspiration and operational leanings from the seamless integration and adoption of UPI, India’s healthcare is on its way to replicate a similar revolution in the country through the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). Conceptualised by the government and led in tandem with major healthcare and health-tech partners within the country, ABDM is not just any other government scheme, it aims to consensually interconnect different stakeholders in healthcare like patients, doctors, hospitals, policy makers and so on to facilitate the best quality of care for patients.

Much like UPI, the aim here is to improve affordability and accessibility of healthcare by making it truly inclusive and easy to use. While the parallel similarities between the two seems promising, the question that needs to be asked remains.

Can ABDM be UPI’s equivalent in healthcare?

To answer this, we must first address the parallels. The potential for ABDM, as of today, is in its capacity to address three critical principles just like UPI did when it was launched—Identity, Interoperability, and Data.


Before UPI, India lacked a standardised unique identity system. The absence of a central, standardised identifier made it challenging to accurately track patient records, leading to

fragmentation in healthcare data. ABDM addresses this issue by introducing unique identifiers, such as ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) ID for consumers, HPR (Healthcare Professionals Registry) ID, and HFR (Health Facility Registry) ID for providers. These unique identifiers create a robust identity layer, allowing the tracking and identification of every transaction within the healthcare system, thereby contributing to the creation of a comprehensive “health data ecosystem.”


The Unified Health Interface (UHI) under ABDM plays a pivotal role in solving the problem of interoperability. It enables patients to use various apps to access healthcare professionals and institutions listed on different platforms. This means a patient using one healthcare app can access a doctor registered on another app. This eliminates the need for patients and providers to have multiple apps, enhancing efficiency and making it easier for people to benefit from the digital healthcare system.


Just as UPI reduced cash transactions and enabled end-to-end tracking of financial transactions, ABDM is leading the way in digitising healthcare data. With government incentivisation, the healthcare sector is transitioning to a digital era where all healthcare data will be digitised, paving the way for innovative use cases, such as quick insurance issuance and payout.

That said, healthcare will always be one of the most crucial levers of the economic growth of a country. Health of the population directly translates to the health of the nation. And in a country like India, it is extremely crucial to ensure that last-mile delivery of quality care is facilitated, something that a unified platform like ABDM can provide.

Much like UPI, ABDM is also working on leveraging digital penetration and technology to streamline processes, enhance accessibility, and improve efficiency in one of our most critical sectors. It empowers patients with improved access to quality care, particularly in marginalised areas.

In conclusion I would say, ABDM, if leveraged and adopted well, will be a game-changer for digital healthcare in India. Its potential to address the challenges of identity, interoperability, and data in the healthcare sector and its ability to reduce fragmentation and deliver seamless, efficient healthcare across boundaries, will make ABDM the key to unlocking India’s next big healthcare revolution. And if numbers are to be believed, the impact of ABDM is only set to expand in the future fostering a digitally empowered healthcare landscape in India.

The writer is Co-founder, Practo