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New Policy on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Issued by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi

Published: 27/06/2018

The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (“DOH”) (formerly the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi) released a new policy to govern the use and implementation of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) in health care, with the goal of encouraging its safe and secure use.

The policy describes AI as “the mimicking of human thought and cognitive processes to solve complex problems automatically”. . . “such as machine learning, distributed intelligent systems, [and] expert systems”.

While the policy leaves to future regulatory decisions a number of key elements, essential requirements of an effective AI in healthcare framework are addressed. The DOH is directed to develop a regulatory framework that will govern the following elements of AI use in healthcare:

  • safety and responsibility;
  • privacy and security;
  • transparency and oversight; and
  • ethical implications.

 

The new policy applies to:

  • all Abu Dhabi licensed health care providers and professionals;
  • national and locally based international end-users that utilise, or wish to utilise, Abu Dhabi based population or patient clinical and non-clinical data in AI endeavours, directly or indirectly;
  • UAE based Pharmaceutical manufacturers;
  • Abu Dhabi based healthcare insurers;
  • Abu Dhabi licensed healthcare researchers involved in human subjects research; and
  • Abu Dhabi patients.

 

The policy sets out minimum acceptable requirements that the DOH expects for AI (and its tools) introduced in Abu Dhabi, which includes certification by recognised international agencies, compliance with ADSSSA regulations and auditable validation statements.

Further, users of AI (other than patients) will be required to, among other things, 1) have in place clear governance on the use of AI, 2) provide clear guidelines and boundaries on access to and sharing of any patient information to protect confidentiality and ownership of such information, 3) conduct regular audits of AI functionality and reporting to DOH, 4) comply with all UAE and DOH related regulatory requirements, including those governing e-health, health information exchanges, data protection, information security, and AI.

The policy reflects DOH’s recognition of the critical role AI can play and the benefits to be gained from its use in in healthcare.  To support and encourage the use of AI in healthcare clear regulatory frameworks must be created, following which companies can create the compliance structures necessary to ensure smooth and compliant adoption of AI into healthcare. We will stay tuned for further implementing frameworks expected from the DOH.

Should you require any advice concerning the new AI policy, our Healthcare sector would be happy to assist.