The regional real estate, construction and hospitality sectors have been turned upside down over the last two years, with Covid-19 bringing these sectors to a halt. The impact of the pandemic remains, however, the resurrection of these vital sectors across the region is a welcome relief because they support the development of modern cities, which in turn have attracted commerce and tourism to the Middle East and North Africa.
This latest edition of Law Update, provides vital insights, updates and commentary on the latest trends taking shape across the real estate, construction, hotels and leisure sectors. The articles within this edition cover a broad range of topics, from what’s next for real estate in Dubai, to commentary on Saudi real estate, a market that is set to become the main bedrock of the region for years ahead. You will find articles on reforming real estate laws in Qatar, foreign investment and ownership in Oman, and mitigating risks on hotel construction projects and the lessons learnt from Covid.Read the full report
The United Arab Emirates has issued Federal Law No. 2 of 2019, Concerning the Use of the Information and Communication Technology in the Area of Health (“ICT Health Law”). The ICT Health Law applies to all methods and uses of information and communication technology (“ICT”) in the UAE healthcare sector, including in free zones, and comes into force in May 2019.
Under the law, the Ministry of Health & Prevention (“Ministry”) sets out to establish a central electronic health data and information exchange (“HIE”), to facilitate confidential access, collection and exchange of health data and information within the UAE. The local emirate health authorities are empowered to establish the rules, standards and controls for their own electronic data and health information systems, such as the methods of operation, exchange of data and information and their protection, as well as access to and copying of data and information. However, the health authorities in the UAE must join the central HIE, in accordance with the regulations and procedures that are to be specified in the subsequent executive regulations. The executive regulations are to be issued within six months of the publication of this law.
The Ministry, in coordination with the local emirate health authorities, is to develop and implement a national strategic plan concerning the use of ICT in healthcare, as well as setting mandatory procedures for using ICT. One of the goals is to ensure compatibility and interoperability between information systems to procure valid, credible, and accessible health data and information. The executive regulation will further set out the conditions and controls of storing health data and information within the UAE.
The ICT Health Law expressly prohibits handling, transferring or storing of medical records and health information outside the UAE, except where a resolution is passed by the relevant authorities. This may pose a problem for UAE healthcare facilities that have relationships with foreign vendors.
Further, health information and data must be maintained through ICT for a period of 25 years from the last healthcare interaction of the concerned patient; the executive regulations are set to elaborate upon this obligation.
Healthcare providers, health insurers and insurance related services, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare technology companies, amongst others, should audit their current practice for compliance with the ICT Health Law.
Should you require any advice concerning the use of Information and Communication Technology in the healthcare sector, we would be happy to assist. In a forthcoming Law Update article, we will expand upon this development.