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The Ministry of Health and Prevention introduces a process for transferring health data outside the United Arab Emirates.
Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) Resolution No. 51/2021 allowing health data transfers outside the UAE (Resolution) issued on 28 April 2021 became effective from 16 May 2021 being the date of publication in Gazette No. 702. Here are the salient points to enable the healthcare community to mobilise.
Federal Law No. (2) of 2019 concerning the Use of Information and Communications Technology in Health Fields (ICT Health Data Law) and its implementing regulations Cabinet Resolution No.32 of 2020, together regulate the uses of information and communications technology for the healthcare sector in the country. The ICT Health Data Law contains provisions concerning data processing, data security and confidentiality, and data localisation and is the primary UAE health data protection law.
In accordance with Article 13 of the ICT Health Data Law, health data cannot be stored, processed, generated, or transferred outside of the UAE, unless the activity has been approved by a resolution of a health authority in coordination with the MOHAP.
The Resolution provides long-awaited clarity on this topic.
Under the Resolution, MOHAP confirms the process for transferring health data outside UAE.
The basic position remains the same, health data and information (“Health Data”) may not be stored or transferred outside the UAE if it is related to health services provided inside the country, with the exception of the following cases:
The transfer of Health Data under these exceptions will be subject to strict controls concerning:
As the Resolution has been published in the Official Gazette and there are no apparent transitional mechanisms, it is in full legal effect as of now. Consequently, all regulated entities will need to comply. Therefore, healthcare industry operators and digital technology providers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with this Resolution with a view to bringing their activities into conformity.
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