There is an ever-growing demand for digital solutions in the healthcare industry as medical providers seek to accommodate healthcare consumerization. In 2022, it is estimated to be worth $153 billion, and by 2027, that value is expected to rise by a 16 percent compound annual growth rate.
Mobile apps are becoming increasingly important in the health care industry, serving the needs of both doctors and patients. An ever-increasing number of people rely on online media and web services for various tasks in their daily lives. Doctors can enhance patient health and save lives thanks to new technology, including electronic medical records, gadgets, and mobile and web applications.
A company’s clinical software will be heavily penalized by the market if it does not follow HIPAA standards. It makes this legislation the most important federal statute for any mHealth software developer with significant influence in the United States. Building a health-related app is difficult, but HIPAA-compliant makes it difficult. Even yet, it’s critical to be at ease around it due to the severe consequences of violating the law. It is advisable to understand HIPPA compliance tips.
What is HIPAA?
A 1996 US law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) governs the movement of medical data. This act includes provisions for safeguarding patient information against misuse and unauthorized access by healthcare and insurance providers.
Five of the many rules in HIPAA should be of particular interest to you. They’re as follows:
- Rule of Privacy
- Insist on Proper Security
- To enforce a rule
- Rule of the Whole
- Rule on Notification of Breach
The sort of entity using the app and the type of data it covers determine whether or not your medical software needs to be HIPAA-compliant.
How to Create HIPAA-Compliant Mobile Apps: 5 Tips
Regarding mobile app development, we will focus mainly on the technology protections that apply to both covered entities and BAs. When developing an app that may be subject to HIPAA, I’ve put together a five-item checklist. Consult a professional if you’re having trouble understanding the subtleties of HIPAA. Complying with these requirements while considering these factors is not a guarantee.
Due diligence isn’t complete until you’ve followed these best practices and run your app via a mobile app security testing service to verify that you’ve done your due diligence. Make sure you do a thorough review at every level of the development process, just like you would for any other software. An afterthought in terms of security is not a strategy at all.
- Understand your role and responsibility
- The security requirements for a healthcare app must be well stated, and a certified security specialist verifies the architecture.
- HIPAA and security specialists should not be required of app developers.
- Consider your use case for the app if you are the product owner. When dealing with PHI, it’s critical to consider how and where the data will be handled and stored.
- You should also think about whether additional rules might have a significant impact on the architecture of your application. The Federal Trade Commission provides a tool to assist you in identifying what regulations apply to your situation. Understanding the role & responsibility in-depth should be one of the top HIPAA compliance Tips.
Keep your exposure and danger to a minimum.
- Don’t access, display, or store data that you don’t require. If you don’t need a person’s whole birthdate, for example, don’t collect it. The aim of any personal information you ask for should be explicit.
- Avoiding the need to keep data is a very effective but frequently ignored method of ensuring security. It is best not to save or cache personal information (PHI). You can’t guarantee that the data you put to system memory will be removed because of how flash storage works (e.g., wear leveling, block mapping) (see our best practice about the secure deletion of data).
- Ensure your cloud storage is secure if you’re planning to store data there. A Business Associate Agreement is also required with any third-party service providers. The Amazon Web Services whitepaper on cloud architecture and HIPAA compliance is an excellent resource for those interested in learning more.
- Geolocation data should be handled with caution. According to HIPAA, any subdivision more minor than a state is considered to be geographically identifying someone. PHI can be created from seemingly harmless geolocation data.
Securely store and transport data
- There is no doubt that encryption plays a significant role here. Isn’t it evident that this is the case? App Transport Security (ATS) is absent from 80 percent of the 200 most popular free iOS apps. ATS mandates the use of HTTPS over HTTP for all communications between mobile apps and backend services. Encryption is ensured because of this method.
- There is no excuse for not using today’s tools and procedures. Encryption is required both when data is stored and sent. Another critical aspect of compliance is that the information is regularly validated.
- Mobile devices communicate using a variety of protocols. Is your company texting customers? Because SMS and MMS are not encrypted, you must ensure they do not contain any personally identifiable information (PII).
- If you’re encrypting data locally, don’t write your encryption method. Instead, utilize extensively verified protocols based on some form of standard.
Ensure the safety of your app
- You’ll need to re-authenticate if you don’t log in for an extended period. Consider your use-case to get a solid sense of how long that period should be.
- A common criticism of push notifications is that attackers can exploit them. The patient’s private health information (PHI) should never appear in push notifications that can be accessed by anyone other than the patient.
- Data can end up in places you didn’t expect it to. Protecting PHI in backups and log files is often not a priority. As a result, Android smartphones’ SD cards can be particularly vulnerable to hackers.
- Adhere to the OWASP Top 10 Mobile Risks list and our Secure Mobile Development Best Practices guide for best practices.
Verify your identitu
- Static and dynamic application security testing is the only way to ensure a mobile app is secure.
- Eighty percent of the most popular free iOS apps lack App Transport Security (ATS).
- Technology exists that can help you do parts of this on your own, but you should consider hiring a third party if you’re not an expert. To ensure HIPAA compliance, mention that the app is in scope – and suggest that they read this blog article to know what to look for.
- What Is the Importance of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act?
- Both patients and healthcare providers benefit significantly from HIPAA. This law was passed to assist in safeguarding private information and guarantee that it is handled with the utmost care. As defined by the Act on Confidentiality, this determines who can share information with whom and how it can be revealed.
- Because of this, any business considering creating a health-related app, whether for the web or mobile, has to know if HIPAA compliance is required.
Why is HIPAA important?
According to HIPAA, but often disputed, patients reap the most benefits. There are many Americans who know about it, but few understand why. Patients need to be informed of four essential features of HIPAA to understand their rights and safeguards.
So, here they are:
- Health data privacy
- Medical information security
- notification in the event of a breach of personal information
- The right to acquire a copy of a patient’s medical history
- Patients and Healthcare Providers
Medical organizations must adhere to several HIPAA regulations to secure patient information and improve healthcare management. These guidelines essentially serve to keep sensitive data safe from unauthorized access. In line with rules, PHI cannot be sent without patients’ permission, and businesses must notify patients if a breach occurs.
Many healthcare software development projects require HIPAA compliance due to the substantial risk of sanctions if a breach happens.
HIPAA-Compliant Apps Have These Features
Each healthcare software development project necessitates its approach. HIPAA-compliant mobile apps require several elements that must be included. These are a few examples in particular:
Make it simple for users to log in, but don’t lose sight of the need to protect their data. Using a one-time password for authentication is an option to consider.
Access to help in case of emergency
There should be a plan to ensure that the app can be accessed even during a network outage or service interruption.
Vendors of HIPAA-compliant software should consider it a critical component of their product. In the future, they will explore deeper into this topic.
Do You Want to Know, Is Your Mobile app Following HIPAA Compliance?
A rigorous validation process should be part of your risk mitigation strategy, and your app development partner should be aware of this. Identifying, evaluating, and removing any knowledge of known or unknown vulnerabilities before the platform is released online is possible with this method. Many firms use a security scan to ensure their platform has no known security flaws. The following procedures will visually inspect physical and digital assets and test data security vulnerabilities. HIPAA compliance Tips will guide you in developing a top-class application.