United Arab Emirates: UAE Legal Update – Regulatory Alert (2) Healthcare & Data Privacy

Last Updated: 28 March 2019
Article by Simon Isgar

Federal Law No.2 of 2019 – Using IT and Telecommunications in the Healthcare Sector

Further to our recent Regulatory Alert "UAE Legal Update – Regulatory Alert

Healthcare Federal Law No.2 of 2019 – Using IT and Telecommunications in the Healthcare Sector" We now set out further details of the Law in this Regulatory Alert (2).

Federal Law No. (2) of 2019 – Using IT and Telecommunications in the Healthcare Sector was promulgated by UAE Federal Government at the Presidential Palace of Abu Dhabi on 6 February 2019 and is yet to be published in the Gazette at the time of writing. Once the Law is Gazetted and published, its provisions shall come in to force three (3) months thereafter.

The Law, for all intents and purposes is the first Federal data/privacy law of its kind in the United Arab Emirates albeit limited to healthcare data. The Law, (like US statute, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Title II, which deals with privacy rule for the protection of healthcare data) is a timely welcome relief with the recent implementation of the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The Law will also be extremely relevant to Cyber risks, where we would predict that this line of insurance cover will grow in the UAE. Interestingly, many organisations in the UAE do not have insurance coverage in place for Cyber risks and they should look to review their current practices and existing insurance coverage to address this issue.

The Law prescribes 31 Articles and its application is wide both in terms of geographical spread and industry sectors. The Law covers the entire United Arab Emirates (UAE) including the Free Zones and will impact on many sectors including local healthcare regulators in the different Emirates as well as all sectors dealing with healthcare data/information. We anticipate that will include healthcare providers/facilities, medical insurance providers, insurance intermediaries dealing and placing medical insurance, third party medical claims administrators, technology companies in the healthcare space, and others dealing with healthcare date/information through technology platforms.

Article (1) sets out the definitions and includes inter alia "Data, Health Information, Processing, and Circulation of Health Information," which all have wide definitions to capture all and any areas of data processing related to health data and information. "Health Authority" is defined as "Any governmental Federal/local health entity in UAE", which will include the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi (formally HAAD), the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and other Emirates with established health authorities. "Competent Authority" has a broad definition to include inter alia "Every authority in UAE that provides health services or health & medical insurance services, its brokerage, electronic services in the health domain which are directly/indirectly connected with the application of the provisions hereof". For the first time, the Law creates a "Central System", which is defined as "Set of electronic exchange of health data and information including the set of electronic parts/elements connected to each other to operate together for attainment of a specific purpose".

For the purposes of this update, we have referred to entities that deal with healthcare data/information in the UAE through IT/electronic platforms as "healthcare data/information processors" and Emirate healthcare regulators as "Health Authorities" where the context permits.

Pursuant to Article (3) of the Law, the objectives are ensuring the safety and security of health data/information using international standards and practices while ensuring the optimal use of Information and communications technology in the healthcare areas enabling the Ministry of Health & Prevention to collect, analysis and save the health data and information at a UAE level.

Article (4) regulates information and communications technology in the healthcare sector. This includes maintaining health data/information confidentiality by prohibiting the data to be handled in unauthorized cases, ensuring the authenticity and credibility of health data/information by maintaining its safety against unauthorized dilapidation, variation, misrepresentation, deletion or addition and ensuring availability of health data/information to the authorized parties and facilitation of accessibility of that data whenever needed by those parties.

Interestingly, and for the first time, Article (5) creates a Central System for data population between the Ministry of Health & Prevention, Health Authorities and all those involved with healthcare data/information, i.e. healthcare data/information processors. This is a welcome move by the UAE Government as we anticipate that where health data and information is captured and processed properly, this will benefit the UAE healthcare markets in terms providing quality and accurate data to avoid potential frauds and better underwritings of health insurance risks for the market.

Articles (7) and (8) refers to implementing regulations and suggests that these will deal with guidelines and procedures for joining the Central System as well as the confidentiality and protection measures to be put in place. Article (6) obligates all those involved with healthcare data/information to set up principles, standards and regulations for electronic systems/platforms to avoid and manage risk with healthcare data/information in terms of protection, transfers, processing, controlling, copy and amending healthcare data/information.

Article (10) refers to and deals with the coordination of healthcare data/information through information and communications technology between the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Health Authorities and healthcare data/information processors referring to the implementation of a national strategic plan.

Article (11) places, what might be deemed an implied contract between healthcare data/information processors and the Health Authorities obligations as to the authenticity, credibility and availability of health data/information in a way that would ensure the conformity of the used IT systems and the interfering operation among them for exchange and collection of health data/information. Article (11) specifically refers to "Warranty of Conformity of Used Electronic Systems". Articles (12) and (13) provide obligations around storage of healthcare data/information within and outside the UAE respectively, to be detailed by further Ministerial Resolutions. In terms of Article (13), health data/information may not be stored, processed, generated or transferred outside UAE related to the health services provided within UAE, other than through resolution issued in favour of the healthcare data/information processors in coordination with the Ministry of Health & Prevention. This of course will impact on many global health insurance providers that often process health data outside the UAE although we anticipate that if those healthcare data/information processors can satisfy the Ministry of Health & Prevention and the Health Authorities that they have appropriate systems and controls in place as to the security and control of the data, then this should not present any hurdles.

Article (14) prohibits use of the Central System unless the healthcare data/information processors is licensed by the competent authorities. Article (15) refers to the publication and statistics of health data/information subject to further clarity with specified guidelines.

Article (16) addresses information related to patient confidentiality protections and maintains the confidentiality of the data to only be used and processed for the specific purpose of health matters unless the patient consents or exceptions apply, which are:

Processing related to health financing or health insurance services and benefits;

Processing of scientific and clinical research provided that the patient's identity is not disclosed;

Processing for taking preventive and treatment measures related to public health or maintaining the safety and health of the patient;

Processing at the request of the competent judicial authorities; and

Processing at the request of the healthcare data/information processors for the purposes of supervision, inspection and maintaining public health.

Article (18) permits the Ministry of Health & Prevention to instruct Ministries and Health Authorities to block websites whether in the UAE or abroad where those websites are in violation of the guidelines/standards and without the appropriate licenses and authorisations.

Of interest, Article (19) obligates, we believe healthcare data/information processors to undertake training and qualifications through human cadres to ensure security and safety of the health data and information. Article (20) deals with retention periods and Articles (22) to (26) deals with violations, penalties and disciplinary sanctions, where financial penalties can range up to one million Dirhams. The penalties and sanctions in the Law are without prejudice to other violations on other laws including the UAE Penal Code.

In summary, the Law will have far reaching consequences for UAE healthcare services and IT industries insofar as it places strict obligations for the processing and control of health data and information in the UAE. Many business and organisations will need to carry out data information audits to stress test their current systems and control to meet compliance with the new requirements. We anticipate further guidance through Resolutions, Circulars and other forms of legal instruments from the Ministry of Health & Prevention. The Law is complex, and we recommend legal advice should be sought for further clarifications.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions