ADHICS Compliance and Audit Guide

What is ADHICS compliance audit?

Completing an ADHICS (Abu Dhabi Healthcare Information and Cyber Security Standard) audit involves several detailed steps, each designed to ensure that healthcare organizations in Abu Dhabi comply with stringent cybersecurity and data privacy standards.

Definite Guide to ADHICS Compliance Audit Guide 2024

The Abu Dhabi Healthcare Information and Cyber Security Standard (ADHICS) has emerged as a critical framework in the current scenario of Abu Dhabi's healthcare sector. The rapid digitization of healthcare services, coupled with the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, necessitates robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive patient data and ensure the continuity of healthcare operations.

Rising Cybersecurity Threats in Abu Dhabi

The healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi, like many other regions, faces significant cybersecurity challenges. Cyber threats such as phishing, ransomware, man-in-the-middle attacks, and zero-day exploits pose substantial risks to patient safety, data protection, and operational continuity. The immense value of healthcare data on the DarkNet makes the industry an attractive target for cybercriminals, further exacerbating the need for stringent cybersecurity measures.
Digital Transformation in Healthcare
The UAE healthcare industry has embraced digital advancements, including telemedicine services, electronic medical records, and artificial intelligence applications, to enhance patient care. While these technologies offer numerous benefits, they also introduce new vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber attackers. Ensuring the security of these digital systems is paramount to maintaining trust and reliability in healthcare services.

Regulatory Compliance and Data Privacy

The Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH) has issued comprehensive data privacy standards to protect identifiable patient health information (PHI). These standards mandate secure and optimal use of PHI, operational policies, and incident response plans to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of patient data. Compliance with these regulations is essential for healthcare entities to avoid legal repercussions and ensure the protection of patient information.

What is an ADHICS audit?

An ADHICS (Abu Dhabi Healthcare Information and Cyber Security Standard) audit is a comprehensive evaluation process designed to ensure that healthcare organizations in Abu Dhabi comply with the stringent cybersecurity and data privacy standards set by the Department of Health (DoH). An ADHICS audit is a critical process for healthcare organizations in Abu Dhabi to ensure they meet the highest standards of cybersecurity and data privacy. By conducting thorough assessments, implementing robust controls, and maintaining continuous monitoring, healthcare entities can protect sensitive patient information and achieve compliance with the ADHICS standard. The audit process involves several key components and steps to assess and enhance the security posture of healthcare entities. Here are the main aspects of an ADHICS audit:

What is ADHICS Compliance and Audit?

The Abu Dhabi Healthcare Information and Cyber Security Standard (ADHICS) is a comprehensive framework established by the Department of Health (DoH) in Abu Dhabi to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of healthcare information. ADHICS is designed to align with international standards and enhance the cybersecurity posture of healthcare entities within the emirate. Below is a detailed explanation of ADHICS in terms of compliance, audit, and requirements.

Review Current Cybersecurity Posture

Conduct a thorough review of the organization's current cybersecurity measures against ADHICS requirements to identify any gaps in compliance.

Identify Critical Assets

Determine which assets are critical to the organization and need protection under ADHICS.

What is the Purpose and Scope of ADHICS compliance?

ADHICS aims to protect sensitive healthcare information, including medical records, financial data, and personally identifiable information (PII). The standard applies to all healthcare entities operating in Abu Dhabi, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and insurance providers. Compliance with ADHICS is mandatory and covers both public and private sector healthcare organizations.

Protect Patient Data

Ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of patient health information.

Enhance Cybersecurity

Implements strict protocols for data encryption, access control, incident response, and vulnerability management.

Build Public Trust

Fosters trust between patients and healthcare providers by ensuring robust data security measures

ADHICS Compliance Services

ADHICS Risk Assessment

Identifying and assessing risks related to healthcare data security and privacy.

ADHICS Gap Assessment

Evaluating the current state of security against ADHICS standards and identifying gaps.

ADHICS Policy and Procedure Development

Establishing privacy and security policies to achieve compliance.

ADHICS Technology Implementation

Implementing technical controls to address identified gaps and risks

ADHICS Security Awareness Training

Educating employees about data security requirements.

What is ADHICS Compliance and Audit?

The ADHICS audit program is conducted in three-year cycles. In the first year, a comprehensive audit is performed by the Emirates Classification Society (TASNEEF) through their subsidiary TASNEEF-RINA Business Assurance (TRBA). This audit checks for compliance with ADHICS standards and awards a conformance certificate. In the second and third years, surveillance audits are conducted to ensure ongoing compliance, but no certification is provided for these audits.

ADHICS Initial Assessment

Ensure that all staff members are aware of ADHICS standards and understand their role in maintaining compliance. Regular training sessions help instill a culture of cybersecurity awareness throughout the organization.

Employee Training and Awareness

Ensure all staff members are aware of ADHICS standards and their role in maintaining compliance. Regular training sessions are essential.

Implementing ADHICS Security Measures

Bolster cybersecurity defenses by implementing necessary technical and administrative controls, such as data encryption and secure network connections.

Automated Compliance Tracking

Use tools to continuously monitor systems and ensure alignment with ADHICS standards, making real-time adjustments as needed.

What are ADHICS Requirements?

ADHICS control requirements are grouped into three categories based on the entity's risk environment, value of healthcare information, and maturity level:

Basic ADHICS Controls

Minimum essential controls that all healthcare entities must comply with. These controls are foundational and protect information assets from critical threats.

Advanced Controls

Comprehensive controls that provide the highest level of security. These controls are applicable to entities with significant information assets and complex operational environments.

Transitional Controls

High-priority controls that enhance the security posture of healthcare entities. These controls protect information assets from a wide range of threats.

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what are the key benefits of achieving ADHICS compliance

Achieving ADHICS (Abu Dhabi Healthcare Information and Cyber Security Standard) compliance offers numerous benefits to healthcare organizations. These benefits span across data protection, operational efficiency, regulatory adherence, and public trust. Here are the key benefits:
Enhanced Data Protection
Protection of Healthcare Information: ADHICS compliance ensures that sensitive healthcare information, including medical records, financial data, and personally identifiable information (PII), is safeguarded against unauthorized access, breaches, and cyber-attacks.
Data Integrity and Accuracy: The standards focus on maintaining the integrity, quality, and accuracy of shared information, ensuring that data remains reliable and accurate throughout its lifecycle.
Improved Security Posture
Enhanced Cybersecurity: ADHICS outlines strict protocols for data encryption, access control, incident response, and vulnerability management, thereby enhancing the overall cybersecurity posture of healthcare organizations.
Reduced Recovery Times: By implementing ADHICS, healthcare organizations can reduce recovery times during security incidents, ensuring minimal disruption to services and faster restoration of normal operations.
Regulatory and Legal Compliance
Compliance with Information Assurance Regulations: ADHICS helps healthcare entities meet compliance with UAE Information Assurance regulations and other relevant legal requirements, ensuring that they operate within the legal framework.
Mandatory for Licensing: Compliance with ADHICS is mandatory for healthcare organizations operating in Abu Dhabi, and it is required for obtaining and renewing business licenses.
Operational Efficiency
Business Continuity: ADHICS ensures that healthcare services remain operational in the face of natural disasters, system failures, and denial-of-service attacks, thereby supporting continuous and reliable service delivery.
Structured Information Security Approach: The standard provides a structured approach to information security, which includes risk assessments, gap analysis, policy development, and continuous monitoring, leading to more efficient and effective security management.
Public Trust and Reputation
Building Public Trust: By ensuring robust data security measures, ADHICS fosters trust between patients and healthcare providers, enhancing the reputation and reliability of healthcare organizations.
Protecting Goodwill: Effective compliance with ADHICS helps protect the goodwill and reputation of healthcare service providers by demonstrating a commitment to high standards of data privacy and security.
Employee Awareness and Training
Security Awareness: ADHICS compliance includes training and educating employees about data security requirements, ensuring that staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities in maintaining data security.
Strategic Advantages
Alignment with International Standards: ADHICS aligns with international information security standards such as ISO 27001 and NESA, providing a strategic advantage to organizations by streamlining compliance efforts and enhancing global competitiveness.
Integration with Health Information Exchange: Compliance with ADHICS facilitates integration with platforms like Malaffi and other Health Information Exchange systems, promoting seamless and secure data sharing across the healthcare ecosystem.

Everything you could want

Coverage: The ADHICS standard applies to all healthcare entities within the Abu Dhabi emirate, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, healthcare insurance services, and third-party partners.
Information Types: It covers all forms of information, both physical and digital, as well as medical devices, applications, software, information systems, physical infrastructure, and human resources involved in healthcare delivery.

Get ADHICS Compliant

Governance Structure: ADHICS mandates a three-layer governance pyramid structure to ensure proper oversight and management of information security within healthcare entities. This includes entity management, information security management, and the implementation team.
Risk Management: Regular risk assessments are required to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. The results must align with the entity’s priorities, initiatives, and investments.

Get ADHICS Compliant

ADHICS provides a set of baseline policies that healthcare entities must implement to ensure compliance. These include:

  • Information Security High-Level Policy
  • Human Resources Security Policy
  • Physical and Environmental Security Policy
  • Access Control Policy
  • Operations Security Policy
    Electronic Communications Policy
  • Health Information and Security Policy
  • Third Parties Security Policy
  • Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Maintenance Policy
  • Information Security Incident Management Policy
  • Information Systems Continuity Policy
  • Compliance Policy
  • Acceptable Usage Policy
  • Antivirus Policy
  • Clear Desk and Clear Screen Policy
  • Information/Data Backup Policy
  • Internet Usage Policy
  • Password Security Policy
  • Remote Access Security Policy

Get ADHICS Compliant

Technical and Administrative Controls: Implement necessary controls such as data encryption, access control, incident response protocols, and continuous security assessments.
Policy Development: Establish and maintain comprehensive information security policies and procedures that align with ADHICS standards.

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