NABIDH Policies 101: Demystifying the Technical and Operational Standards

Healthcare is undergoing revolutionary changes worldwide, and Dubai is at its epicenter. DHA’s NABIDH policies have been in the forefront of digital transformation in Dubai’s healthcare sector. The push for a healthcare model centered around patients, and the aspiration for a unified platform connecting healthcare providers and patients act as the driving forces behind this path-breaking journey. The NABIDH policies offer a comprehensive framework, guiding facilities in adopting this new system of healthcare and enjoying its diverse benefits. While all of these policies are instrumental in facilitating a smooth transition to NABIDH, in this article we will focus on understanding the Technical and Operational Standards recommended by NABIDH and their significance in shaping the new healthcare system.


What are NABIDH’s Technical and Operational Standards?

The Technical and Operational Standards are prescribed by NABIDH to ensure a standardized form of communication and interoperability between healthcare information systems. This set of standards is formulated and maintained by Health Level 7, a non-profit organization, and IHE International (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise- International).

The HL7 standards govern the transfer and exchange of data between healthcare providers by prescribing specific message formats for exchanging patient health information over NABIDH, and IHE promotes the use of established standards including HL7 and DICOM and fosters interoperability. These standards are necessary to ensure that healthcare systems communicate better with one another and enable care providers to use health information in an efficient and effective way.


Purpose & Significance

According to NABIDH the Technical and Operational Standards are meant to:

  •   Assure the highest levels of access, quality, health status, and efficiency in Dubai’s healthcare sector
  •   Facilitate efficient flow and exchange of health information among patients, healthcare providers, and regulators, with no compromise to the confidentiality and safety of patient health information
  •   Promote transparency in health information exchange
  •   Provide a standard framework for understanding how clinical data can be moved between health systems without losing its meaning or context.


What Do the Technical & Operational Standards Encompass?

Under this section, NABIDH lists out the HL7 and IHE standards that every healthcare provider is expected to follow. This list includes:

  •   HL7’s A01 to A45 standards  which primarily describe the message format to be used for updating information about, or notifying common events such as patient admission, discharge, transfer, or modification to patient information.
  •   Various IHE standards such as IHE-ATNA, IHEA-BPPC, IHE-XCPD, IHE-XCA etc. which provide the technical framework for privacy consents, secure node authentications, digital signatures, access control, authorization, encryption, cross community access, etc.


In a nutshell, NABIDH policies extend beyond mere compliance requirements. They serve as guidelines in streamlining NABIDH integration for healthcare facilities and providers. The Technical and Operational standards are designed to simplify the exchange of messages and healthcare data, guaranteeing the secure transmission of patient health information. This ensures that health information maintains its accuracy and integrity, ultimately enabling healthcare providers to deliver the highest quality of care to patients in a timely and efficient manner.