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Everything that you need to know about ADHICS Compliance

In early 2019, The Department of Health, Abu Dhabi (DOH) launched a circular initiating an audit program ensuring that all healthcare entities and professionals in the emirates of Abu Dhabi run in line with ADHICS standards.

What is ADHICS?

Abu Dhabi Healthcare Information and Cyber Security Standards, shortly denoted by ADHICS, leverages cyber security in the healthcare industry, meeting international privacy standards and compliance in Abu Dhabi. The standard comprises various regulations intended for the protection of healthcare information. ADHICS guidelines aim to build a high level of security standards for patient data, ensuring public trust and confidentiality.

Applicability of ADHICS

In general, ADHICS 2021 covers all healthcare entities and associated services in Abu Dhabi. The mandatory standard applies irrespective of the public or private sector. The compliance in specific ties around with;

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Healthcare services
  • Healthcare insurance services
  • Third-party partners
  • Other medical facilities

Why is ADHICS required?

The Healthcare industry is one of the prominent sectors in any region, ensuring safety, promoting health and raising the overall quality of individual life. Often going time-bounded, people connected to the industry need to pack their time efficiently. It means that even the facilities within the healthcare sector need to flow with time. Any hanging security controls could lead the way to delays in service offerings to the needy’s.

In the digital landscape of connected facilities and technology advancements, the industry could meet data leakages and thefts anytime if proper control measures go lacking. While considering the far-flung connectivity and the massiveness of the database, information security needs proper care and control. ADHICS guidelines strictly focus on data security, and at the same time, shoot at the integrity, quality and accuracy of shared information.

The Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, by its proposed ADHICS standard, ensures that all healthcare facilities and professionals adhere to the strict compliance guidelines of data security. By building ADHICS compliance, all private and public healthcare entities will fall under a proper cyber security control framework, minimizing the risks and recovery time in case of breaches. DOH requires organizations to comply with the ADHICS audit and ensure that patient data security never get compromised.

Focusing eye of ADHICS 

ADHICS is a strategic initiative relying on the national mandate and vision of protecting healthcare information to the core. The standard is a part of upholding the privacy and integrity of the healthcare sector, enhancing public trust to the peak. ADHICS eyes on various elements connected with healthcare entities such as;

  1. Human resource security
  2. Physical & environmental security
  3. Asset management
  4. Operations management
  5. Access & communication control
  6. Data security
  7. Data sovereignty & retention
  8. Third-party security
  9. Information security incident management
  10. Information security continuity management
  11. Information systems management

An added speculation with ADHICS standards is that no healthcare entities could use cloud services or infrastructure to store, process or share healthcare data as a part of avoiding inherent risks stemming out of cloud. The control further requires healthcare entities to disconnect the integration with systems utilizing cloud services. The standard also prohibits sharing health information with third parties, inclusive of partners or counterparties, unless authorized by the DoH.

ADHICS challenges

While ADHICS standards rely on improving the security line of the overall healthcare infrastructure in terms of data privacy, the applicable entities face numerous challenges regarding the same. Out of the sorted ones, a big challenge in the ADHICS compliance and integration process is the overdependence on legacy systems. These traditional systems are vulnerable to many threats and serious issues. Another challenge that seems to stick around is with professional expertise handling these tasks. The security control within an organization often goes distributed and are owned by different persons at executive levels. Due to this, implementing a unified security control framework sounds a bit of a task for larger healthcare entities. Additionally, the IT environment suffers from the lack of security professionals, needed compliance and control policies.

ADHICS Compliance Services

Department of Health, Abu Dhabi allows healthcare entities to conduct security compliance audits to ensure ADHICS standards. As a part of improving privacy and health information, expert cyber security providers take up the challenge and aid entities with the required compliance. ADHICS compliance service consists of programs aimed at organization data security and privacy policies. An expert consultancy makes the following services readily available with sufficient resource capabilities.

*Gap Assessments

It identifies and explores the gap or your current security state using ADHICS standard guidelines. An expert cyber security consultant could only verify the deviation from the required compliance standard.

 Risk Assessments

Risk assessments can guide organizations in identifying possible risk factors connected with data privacy and security requirements. The assessment service unfolds all hidden threats and vulnerability points.

Risk Treatment Plans

Risk treatment plans develop a roadmap for remediating vulnerabilities and mitigating gaps that exist in the organization. It builds a range of options along with other action plans to deal with spotted threats.

Strategies & Security Policy

ADHICS compliance requires effective policy and strategy implementation that can hook up your cyber security posture. Cyber Security leaders aids in building the needed strategies, complying with the information standard.

Security Testing

Security testing drills your information system, identifying the flaws to maintain the required functionality. It is a complete wrap of vulnerability scans, penetration tests, security review and posture assessment.

Security Awareness

Security awareness targets the employees through guidelines, compliance policies and necessary training to understand data security needs. A good awareness service helps to get the required continuity.

Technology Implementation

Identifying gaps and building risk treatment plans are not the end of the story. Advisory on the remediation and implementation phase is keen. A professional security consultant aids you with proper implementation techniques.

Implementation Review

The review part of the ADHICS compliance service consists of checking the progress of technology implementation following the provided guidelines. The phase also remediates any particular deviations from the standard.

ADHICS Internal Audit

The internal audit section evaluates the organization’s internal control policies, risk management and checks if the control implementations adhere to ADHICS guidelines and instructions.

In general,the ADHICS compliance service gets segregated into 4 phases while conducting security compliance audits.

  1. Assessment

-Identify critical assets

-ADHICS control identification

-Gap & risk assessments

  1. Control development

-Policies & procedures

-Security awareness

-Technology controls

-Management controls

  1. Security service

-Periodic security testing

-Event & incident response

-Managed network security

-Data & endpoint security

  1. Compliance review

-Performance review

-Internal audit

-External audit support

Benefits of ADHICS in the healthcare sector

The Healthcare sector is showing its advancements everywhere with the adoption of new-new technologies and improved service offerings. With that in mind, data breaches and attacks are on the rise. The previous year showed a hike of 55% of data breaches connected with healthcare entities. The very insight reflects the need for information security within the industry.

ADHICS standards intend to enhance the data privacy of healthcare entities in UAE to premium levels using best practices and policies. It ensures all organizations sticking to the healthcare industry meet the particular standard for data protection and privacy. Here are some of the advantages of effective compliance to the standard.

  • Protection of healthcare information
  • Gaining information assurance control
  • Improving the security posture of organizations
  • Improving customer trust and reliability
  • Protecting the goodwill of healthcare service providers
  • Ensuring the needed business continuity

As we can see from the reflected insights, ADHICS get aligned with international expectations of information security. Healthcare entities that comply with other information security standards such as the ISO 27001 and NESA will have a strategic advantage and ease of action concerning information security. It can hike your organization’s reliability and customer trust with implemented systemic controls and policies. Any organization that lies adhered to NESA and ISO 27001 standards will have a linear information security control line connecting the highest practices of cyber security protection. Effective compliance with the same could indeed reduce your efforts while looking to comply with the ADHICS standard.

Summing Up

ADHICS audit program is a testament to the efforts of expert cyber security professionals in gaining the required compliance for patient data and security in the healthcare sector. While looking for information assurance standards, taking advisory from leading risk and compliance consultancies is keen. To effectively identify vulnerabilities and implement top-class privacy control mechanisms for your organization, industry knowledge in cyber security practices is required for the consulting firm. An expert cyber security consultant will have the needed exposure and certifications enough to drive you closer to the required compliance. An expert consultant can make you ready fit for compliance, and at the same time, ensures the needed continuity to stay upright with a good security posture. All Healthcare information is to be protected as outlined by federal laws, and the compliance mirrors data integrity and confidentiality.