What Is DISHA: Digital Information Security In Healthcare Bill For?

What Is the purpose of DISHA: Digital Information Security In Healthcare Bill 2022? How is it impacting the healthcare of rural women?

What Is the purpose of DISHA: Digital Information Security In Healthcare Bill 2022? How is it impacting the healthcare of rural women?

The term “digital health” refers to technologies that aid in improving the health of individuals. These technologies can be hardware or software, including wearables, diagnostic tools, telemedicine, self-monitoring healthcare devices, and other such tools.

The use of technology in the health sector could transform the industry, but for women living in rural areas or who do not know digital technology, it can be problematic. These women often lack access to basic healthcare facilities, and the use of technology in the health sector could transform the industry for them.

The pandemic brought to light the appalling state of the health sector in the country, which acted as a much-needed reflector for the government and citizens of India who were relying on long-established and outdated healthcare facilities. The need for digital healthcare is no longer an option but a must-have. However, regulations on digital health in India are still in the embryonic stage.

What is DISHA: Digital Information Security in Healthcare Bill, 2022 about?

The Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act was proposed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India (MoHFW) in 2017, which did not see the light. Observing the need of the hour, MoHFW issued the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines on March 25, 2020, which resulted in a sudden increase in online consultations in the healthcare sector.

The Guidelines provide strict provisions for technology platforms and hold them accountable, if found in violation, by blacklisting them.

The MoHFW recently proposed the Digital Information Security in Healthcare Bill, 2022 (DISHA) intending to:

  1. Recognize the right to protect the personal data of individuals,
  2. Manage and process digital personal data.

The Bill provides a one-of-a-kind compliance framework for India’s protection of the digital security of individuals. Section 4 provides that the Bill applies to digital personal data collected within the territory of India either online or offline, when digitized.

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The Bill will only be applied in instances where the processing of personal data outside India is used for profiling or offering goods/services to Data Principals within India.

The bill also provides for special provisions under Chapter 4 which talks about exemptions where the bill is not applicable. For instance, if the processing is being done by any court or tribunal or if it’s in the interest of prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of any offence.

It also provides for the infamous weapon used by the Government to sweep every provision of the bill under the rug, which is in the “interests of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, maintenance of public order, or preventing incitement to any cognizable offence relating to any of these.”

There’s no straight Jacket formula that can be used to differentiate the acts that fall under the aforementioned categories, which makes it yet another Bill that could be used for curbing the Rights (Privacy) of citizens.

Another important provision is Section 25, which provides for a penalty in case of non-compliance with provisions by an individual, so the Board can impose a penalty based on the nature, gravity, and duration of non-compliance.

Drawbacks of Digital Information Security in Healthcare Bill?

One of the issues with DISHA is the aspect of consent and confidentiality of an individual’s information. Women in rural areas often lack knowledge about the dangers of sharing their personal information and do not consider the consequences of their actions is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed.

Further, the concept of informed consent is limited to the younger generation of the country. The majority population of India trust the government blindly and often falls into the trap of sharing their information for schemes. They are not aware of the consequences of their actions, and even if they are, their blind trust does not allow them to question the government.

This, in a way, is slowly killing the major tenet of democracy, which is to ask questions. They do not understand that asking questions helps to reform a scheme, and that asking questions will not make them less patriotic.

Another hindrance preventing women in rural areas from giving informed consent is the fact that they lack awareness about digital health and their rights. Serious issues take precedence in rural areas, and issues like the misuse of their personal information do not even make it to their list of problems.

Suggestions for DISHA

  • Before introducing the Bill, it is important to raise awareness about the significance of digital health, the rights of individuals, and the importance of informed consent, particularly among women living in rural areas.
  • Raising awareness in rural India in general about digital health, their rights, and the significance of sharing personal information.

In conclusion, while the use of technology in the health sector can transform the industry for women living in rural areas, it is important to address the issues with the proposed Digital Information Security in Healthcare Bill, 2022 (DISHA), and raise awareness about digital health and the significance of sharing personal information in rural India.


  • Manisha Singh & Pankaj Musyuni, “Digital health Laws and Regulations in India”, (2023).
  • Telemedicine Practice Guidelines (Enabling Registered Medical Practitioners to Provide Healthcare Using Telemedicine).

Image source: Poltu Shymal, via Getty Images free and edited on CanvaPro

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Ekta Sati

I am Ekta Sati, born & brought up in a very peaceful and beautiful city, Rishikesh. I am an admirer of nature and loves to spend my time on the riverside and in the forests. read more...

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