Digital Health Bill, 2023 to Go Through First Reading in Parliament

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Digital Health Bill, 2023 first reading

The National Assembly will have the first reading of the Digital Health Bill, 2023 today. The bill was drafted by the government in partnership will healthcare stakeholders.

The Digital Health Bill, 2023 aims to bridge existing legal and regulatory gaps within the digital health ecosystem. The legislation acknowledges the critical role of technology in modern healthcare, encompassing m-health, telemedicine, and e-learning.

The bill is part of four draft bills proposed to replace the NHIF Act. Social Health Insurance Bill 2023, Primary Healthcare Bill, 2023, and Facility Improvement Financing Bill, 2023 are the other 3 bills. In August this year, the cabinet approved the four bills during a meeting held in Kakamega.

Prior to enactment, all the bills are subject to debate and approval by parliament. Notably, the Social Health Insurance Bill, 2023 will also go through its first reading today.

Digital Health Bill to Enhance Healthcare Access

If passed into law, the E-Health Bill will provide a framework for the provision of e-Health services and the creation of a digital health agency. Therefore, it will establish an integrated health management information system. Secondly, it will set provisions for data governance and protection of personal health information. Lastly, it is expected to enhance service delivery through digital health interventions, e-waste disposal, and health tourism.

With a focus on data, the health bill is meant to facilitate the development of cloud storage of health data. In addition, it seeks to facilitate and regulate the exchange of health data. The drafters of the bill sought to strengthen data privacy in Kenya’s health sector while adopting technology.

This is seen as the creation of a safe environment that will enable individuals including women youth and key populations to be comfortable using digital health technologies knowing that their rights are enforceable by law.

With this bill, Kenya seeks to use technology to not only improve health outcomes but also enhance accessibility to healthcare services, especially in remote areas.