Healthcare outcomes largely depend on timely and accurate diagnosis. More often than not, healthcare professionals are unable to diagnose health issues at the right time owing to fragmented information about a patient’s health condition or medical history. Most patients may not be carrying relevant medical reports or old prescriptions during their visits to the practitioner, and may even miss mentioning significant details about their health. But Electronic Medical Records (EMR) offer an effective means to resolve this problem. With health information made available in electronic form, healthcare providers have easy access to patient health information. What’s even more revolutionary is the idea of integrating health records of patients over a single, centralized platform that can be used for health information exchange across healthcare facilities. This is exactly what NABIDH EMR integration is all about.
Enabling NABIDH Integration & Addressing the Privacy & Security of NABIDH EMR
NABIDH integration is a pioneering effort being made by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) with the aim to break all barriers in health information exchange and enhance the quality of healthcare delivery. However, the success of this system lies in effective data governance. There has to be a stringent means to ensure that NABIDH EMR is trustworthy and reliable. Which is why, a set of policies and standards have been formulated to govern the new system, and to enable seamless transition to the NABIDH platform. These NABIDH policies aim to protect the privacy and security of patient health information while ensuring the integrity of patient data. Let’s find out how the various NABIDH policies cover different aspects of data governance over the NABIDH network, making NABIDH EMR entirely trustworthy and reliable.
- Protecting the Security and Privacy of Health Data- NABIDH policies have been formulated with a view to protect the privacy and security of patient data. Among these, three specific policies play the crucial role of ensuring that health records are accessed, used, or modified only by authorized individuals, making the NABIDH network a fortress that is impervious to digital trespassing:
- The Identity Management Policy ensures that all systems and individuals accessing and using NABIDH EMR or sharing, exchanging, collecting, and storing patient health information over the NABIDH network are identified through a reliable process of identification. This in turn means that only verified and validated health information is stored in the NABIDH system making it completely reliable for use by healthcare practitioners.
- The Information Security Standards list out a detailed set of rules and guidelines to be followed by all users within the healthcare organization and its networks, so that all touchpoints in the NABIDH network are secure and the integrity or safety of health information is never compromised.
- Governing and Controlling Access to NABIDH EMR- DHA ensures secure access to NABIDH EMR using two important NABIDH policies:
- The Consent and Access Control Policy defines exactly who can access NABIDH-managed data, and also governs how individuals and systems access it. It also details the circumstances under which patients have the right to withhold the use and disclosure of their medical information.
- The Authentication and Authorization Policy ensures that all individuals and systems interacting with NABIDH are authorized through a reliable process of identification and authentication. While this is one of the fundamental aspects of data governance, the policy also mandates that access is granted to individuals on the principle of least privilege. In other words, individuals have access only to the data necessary for their specific roles and responsibilities.
- Ensuring Accuracy of NABIDH EMR- The quality and accuracy of data over the NABIDH network determines the quality of care delivered to patients. It’s therefore necessary that NABIDH EMR is accurate and up-to-date at all times. Two important policies play a role in ensuring the quality and accuracy of data over the NABIDH network:
- The Data Management and Quality Policy defines how health information should be acquired, validated, stored, protected, and processed to ensure accessibility, reliability, and timeliness for its users. It also classifies and governs the primary and secondary use of data.
- The Audit Policy ensures that the security and confidentiality of patient health information is constantly monitored and tracked through security audits. Data validation checks are also conducted regularly. These audits and data validation checks are meant to identify errors and inconsistencies in medical data and rectify them so that the data remains trustworthy and reliable.
- Implementing Measures for Redundant Data Disposal- NABIDH requires healthcare organizations to define the time period for retaining patient data, after which redundant medical records need to be safely disposed of. By mandating this, NABIDH ensures that irrelevant and outdated patient records are removed and NABIDH EMR remains relevant and up-to-date.
- Standardizing Data Exchange Protocols- For NABIDH EMR to be reliable and trustworthy, health information on the NABIDH network has to be up-to-date. This requires seamless sharing of health information across healthcare facilities. Three sets of NABIDH standards have been formulated with this aim:
- Clinical Data Coding & Terminology Standards enforce a structured collection of medical terms for recording and coding clinical information. These standards help in reducing variabilities in the way clinical data is captured and stored, making NABIDH EMR more usable and reliable.
- Interoperability and Data Exchange Standards enable easy exchange of clinical data between systems by enforcing a set of messaging standards designed to support a central system as well as more distributed data environments. These standards enable efficient flow of health information while also focusing on transparency and confidentiality.
- Technical and Operational Standards aim to integrate different systems and enable safe and secure communication between them. These standards ensure the highest levels of quality in health data exchange and improve operational efficiency over the NABIDH network.
- Training Staff in the Use of NABIDH EMR- Training programs are mandatory as per DHA’s NABIDH policies. Educating employees and all NABIDH users is crucial to maintaining the integrity and reliability of NABIDH data.
The NABIDH system is a highly promising means to promote personalized patient care and improved health outcomes. However, efficient data governance is necessary to harness the full potential of NABIDH EMR, and this is what the NABIDH policies mentioned above aim to achieve. They not only regulate the use and exchange of patient health information but also ensure that it is completely reliable and trustworthy for use by healthcare providers, empowering them to deliver timely and effective care.