How to Embrace NABIDH Policies: A Step-By-Step Guide to NABIDH Integration

DHA’s NABIDH program has unfurled a whole new dimension to healthcare delivery. Not only has it opened up a fresh set of possibilities to improve quality of care, but it has also expanded the scope of health data use and application, making it more relevant for public health management and trend analysis as well. Collective health data has the inherent ability to reveal a great deal about a nation’s health status. The opportunities this can create for improving public health are limitless. NABIDH integration therefore brings with it a twofold benefit: holistic patient care and betterment of public health. So if you’re a healthcare provider, you have something of a moral responsibility to embrace NABIDH policies, other than just the requirement to comply with them.


Most Common Challenges in NABIDH Integration

While NABIDH integration offers significant benefits to the healthcare ecosystem, implementing NABIDH in your medical facility can be an uphill battle. Some of the most common challenges associated with NABIDH integration are:

  • Non-compatibility of the facility’s existing EMR system and IT infrastructure with NABIDH standards
  • Setback in seamless data exchange due to differences in health data formats and terminologies, and interoperability issues due to the use of varied systems and versions in different medical facilities
  • Data safety and accuracy concerns arising from exchange of sensitive health data between healthcare facilities and practitioners
  • Problems arising from resistance to change in the existing workflows, processes, roles, and responsibilities
  • Need for significant resource allocation including additional costs, time and personnel to train members of the healthcare facility to adapt themselves to the new model.


Embracing NABIDH Using a Step-by-Step Approach    

Despite numerous challenges, successful NABIDH integration is possible if you take a systematic, step-by-step approach. Here’s a simple guide to help you navigate the process.

Step 1: Find out how ready you are. Assessing your healthcare facility’s readiness should be the foremost step in NABIDH integration. This is necessary to determine if your health data management system is compatible with NABIDH policies and standards. Furthermore, it can give you an idea about the potential barriers in your systems or infrastructure and help you identify problem areas that may need to be addressed for a smooth transition.  

Step 2: Define your objectives. NABIDH integration does not mean steering away from your healthcare facility’s mission and strategic priorities. However, it does require aligning your goals with the NABIDH policies. This would mean understanding the benefits of NABIDH integration towards achieving your healthcare facility’s objectives. This may include better patient care, more streamlined workflows, and enhanced data availability and accessibility.   

Step 3: Set up a NABIDH integration committee. This is one of the prerequisites for defining the roles and responsibilities to be fulfilled as part of the integration process. Identify IT experts, healthcare professionals, administrative staff, and representatives from all departments of your facility to be part of the steering committee. Define their roles, assign specific duties/responsibilities, and create effective channels of communication between them.

Step 4: Understand the NABIDH policies thoroughly. The NABIDH policies constitute a set of regulations and requirements that need to be assimilated with the day-to-day functioning of your healthcare system. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but a clear understanding of the policies can come a long way in successfully implementing them. You may resort to NABIDH experts or agencies that can help with the integration process and get you onboard the NABIDH platform.

Step 5: Formulate policies & protocols as per NABIDH standards. The protocols for health data sharing, information security, consent management & access control,  identity management, auditing, authentication, breach notification, etc. have been clearly defined under the NABIDH policies. Formulate and establish your facility’s policies and protocols in line with NABIDH requirements.

Step 6: Educate & train staff members & healthcare practitioners. Before going onboard the NABIDH platform, members of your healthcare facility have to be educated about the various benefits of NABIDH integration and how it would affect their workflows. Specialized training has to be provided to the staff members involved in the integration process, especially to EMR users who will have access to sensitive health information.

Step 7: Bridge technical gaps. Assess the compatibility of your healthcare facility’s EMR system with NABIDH standards to identify gaps and fix them. This should be a more specific assessment (compared to Step 1), to determine the time and technical resources required to bridge existing gaps.  Ensure data consistency and quality across your EMR system and develop robust policies and procedures to govern the integrity, privacy and security of data.

Step 8: Conduct pilot testing. Test your NABIDH integrated system in a controlled environment to identify and address potential problems before full-scale implementation. This can help assess system performance and compliance with NABIDH policies before going fully onboard.

Step 9: Roll-Out in a phased manner. You can start with a small group of practitioners or specific departments of the healthcare facility and gradually expand to the entire facility. This can help in minimizing disruptions and effectively managing potential challenges.

Step 10: Monitor & improve. NABIDH integration requires continuous monitoring to assess the performance of your healthcare facility’s systems. Reviewing and refining processes is therefore essential to improve outcomes and ensure compliance with changing regulations.


NABIDH integration is not a one-time activity. It is an ongoing process that needs periodic review and assessment. Hence, your healthcare facility has to be prepared and equipped to incorporate changes or improvements based on these assessments, in order to remain compliant with NABIDH policies. This may appear challenging and daunting at the outset. But with thorough planning, a well-defined strategy, and proper collaboration between healthcare providers, IT teams, and EMR users, your healthcare facility can not only embrace the NABIDH policies effectively, but also maximize the benefits of NABIDH integration.

If you need help with any of the above steps, please feel free to contact our NABIDH experts at Airtabat, who can help you understand where you stand and how to plan the next steps.


Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How long does NABIDH integration take?

The time taken for NABIDH integration can vary significantly from one healthcare facility to another, depending on the size of the facility, their existing EMR systems, network and data environments, and IT infrastructure.

  1. What are the benefits of NABIDH compliance for healthcare providers and patients?

For healthcare providers, NABIDH compliance provides the opportunity for more accurate diagnosis and for delivering better quality of care based on every patient’s past medical history, and for patients NABIDH opens the doors for more personalized care and better treatment outcomes.

  1. Does NABIDH integration require data standardization and terminology mapping?

Yes, there are specific clinical data coding and terminology standards that have to be adopted by healthcare facilities to be part of the NABIDH network. These are used for standardizing the code sets and nomenclatures used to describe clinical problems, procedures, medications, allergies etc. to facilitate better understanding between healthcare practitioners.

  1. Are NABIDH policies and standards applicable to all healthcare providers in Dubai?

All healthcare providers operating within the jurisdiction of the DHA have to be onboard the NABIDH platform and all NABIDH policies and standards are applicable to them.

  1. Is NABIDH compliance mandatory? What are the consequences of non-compliance with NABIDH policies?

Yes, NABIDH compliance is mandatory and all healthcare practitioners, facilities, clinics, and their business associates and subcontractors have to be compliant with the NABIDH policies and standards. Non-compliance with NABIDH can result in anything ranging from damage to reputation and loss of business opportunities to heavy financial penalties and legal action that may include suspension/revocation of medical license.