As privacy is vital in today’s environment, healthcare apps cannot be launched unless they are HIPAA-compliant. Patient’s privacy and anonymity were safeguarded by the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).To avoid significant fines and litigation, every organization that requests protected health information (PHI) must adhere to HIPAA requirements.
Because medical data is 12 times more expensive than credit card data, creating an app that complies with HIPAA regulations is necessary. HIPAA compliance for mobile apps is critical to safeguard patient information and thwart various forms of fraud.
The HIPAA Privacy Rules, established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), mandate that healthcare providers safeguard patient health information. The Security Rules and Privacy Rules provide additional criteria for protecting electronic data. To be HIPAA-compliant, one must adhere to the privacy and security guidelines.
Any new app or software company dealing with personal health information must adhere to HIPAA regulations. To comply with HIPAA regulations, one must ensure that Electronic Health Records are secure and private.
Each HIPAA breach can result in a maximum penalty of $50,000 per violation, with a maximum annual fine of $1.5 million. According to this rule, every program or software that handles sensitive healthcare data must be HIPAA-compliant.
Is HIPAA compliance necessary for your app?
At this point, you are presumably curious about the HIPAA compliance requirements for your product and whether or not they are necessary. Asking yourself a series of questions will help you grasp this concept.
- Who is the app’s intended user base?
- What kind of data will the app be able to process?
- What encryption standards will you be employing in your system?
- Is your organization covered by PHI?
A HIPAA-compliant application is required if the app’s target audience is individuals seeking medical treatment at a hospital. HIPAA compliance is required if your app deals with patient health information such as blood pressure and heart readings.
Following are the prerequisites for developing HIPAA-compliant apps:
HIPAA-compliant healthcare app development necessitates a multi-step approach. To begin a project like this, the developers need to understand the entire process clearly. Their application’s usage scope is one aspect of this. It means that app developers must understand how to create a healthcare app and what data is covered by PHI. HIPAA compliance is achieved as a result of this.
Examples of this data include names, phone numbers, and email addresses. SSN and medical records are also included in the definition of PHI. PHI contains 18 different data categories identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
HIPAA-compliant app development should be followed if the app handles any sensitive data.
Ensure that there are sufficient physical safeguards in place. Check the data transmission networks and the backend support systems to achieve this goal. Examining the device integrations in this procedure is essential because these applications transmit data. All the measures for data protection must be present in an application. It’s critical to think about this before launching an app.
Consider the administrative precautions while developing a HIPAA-compliant mobile app. Protecting electronic health information (ePHI) is the primary focus of these measures. Don’t spread yourself too thin by distributing all of your PHI.
Information Access Management (IAM) should also be taken into consideration. Only individuals with a clear need for the information should be granted access. Before beginning to design a platform, be aware of the clearance levels. Fingerprint authentication is a good idea. However, the HIPAA-compliant software must remain user-friendly.
Creating a unique user identification number is part of the encryption process. Keep track of how to log out and access the emergency applications. There should be no notifications on mobile devices for Personal Health Information (PHI).
Reduce the amount of data that is accrued. Enforce a strict limit on how much data users can save or receive simultaneously. For data protection, it is also crucial.
Related Article: A Complete Guide to Verify an App for HIPAA Compliant?
How do you build a HIPAA-compliant mobile application?
It would help if you took these actions to ensure that your app is HIPAA compliant. You must follow the steps to make your HIPAA-compliant software work correctly.
1. Get the Advice of a Professional
To ensure that your application complies with HIPAA requirements and is error-free, you’ll want to hire a professional with experience in this area. A professional to help you navigate this maze of rules and regulations might be a good idea. Remember that even a little gap in compliance might get you in hot water with the authorities!
Make sure your staff is always HIPAA compliant by enlisting the help of healthcare law experts and healthcare app developers.
Experts can be hired in two ways:
- Hire an expert in-house
- Use a company that already has the necessary professionals on staff.
When it comes to healthcare, it’s always great to have an expert on your side to guide you through the process.
2. Draw the line at Patient Data
As a healthcare professional, you will have access to private patient information. You should be aware of the types of information that fall under PHI’s purview. What you’ll have to deal with is the data. Many people, including patients, their loved ones, hospital staff, and medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, will have access to patient data in some way. Restricted access to data exchange would be beneficial. When assessing the situation, you must determine what information has to be given and what should be kept private. A future data leak can be prevented this way.
3. Deciding on a technology stack
After completing the preceding phases, we now go on to develop an app. The complexity of your HIPAA-compliant software determines the technology stack you use. Since they are scalable, you should use reactive technologies to design a HIPAA-compliant app for mobile devices in the healthcare industry. Your devoted developers should also consider app architecture and HIPAA criteria.
You must thoroughly test your HIPAA app to avoid any future issues. You will be able to work with peace of mind if you thoroughly test the app’s security. There are several places where an app can be vulnerable, particularly in the payment gateways and the authorization process.
To secure the app’s security, implement these IAM (Identity and Access Management) principles. While developing the technology stack, remember that you may need to use SOAP, RPC Calls, and REST.
Your app should have a virtual private network (VPN) for maximum security; an app without a VPN is susceptible to hacking. Solicit HL7 certification from your developers so that you know exactly how your data will be transferred.
5. Security Measures for Login
In the event of unusual activity, have your developers and cyber security professionals conduct regular checks on your I.P. address, entry point, and data access.
Checking for anomalies in your system might help you find any security breaches and prevent them from happening again.
How might HIPAA violations be avoided?
For every business, HIPAA violations are a source of great concern. If you want to avoid HIPAA fines and keep your organization in compliance with the HIPAA bridge rule, you may take some steps.
To prevent data breaches, healthcare workers must receive adequate HIPAA training. Regular HIPAA-compliant training is an excellent method to keep your staff updated on the latest regulations and procedures.
HIPAA violations can be avoided by following these two easy rules:
- Do not upload ePHI on social media.
- Messages containing Personal Health Information (PHI) should never be sent by text message.
- Ensure that only those personnel who need access to the facility are allowed to do so.
- Data should be encrypted.
- Report any HIPAA violations.
What are the best ways to collect, transmit, and store PHI?
They take into account three factors when putting out our PHI management plan:
- Modern code suites and TLS monitor data transfer between devices and workers. The declaration sticking interaction is used when the devices are connected to unauthorized networks, such as public Wi-Fi.
- As soon as the data is in the worker storage, we set up key pivots, key management, encrypted backups, and audit logs to ensure they are secure.
- In most cases, iOS and Android, will save that data on circles when the network is disconnected. The penalties and penalty for violating this rule might be severe. It is important to note that the information is heavily encrypted in this regard.
Do You Want to Create a HIPAA-Compliant App from iTechnolabs?
The annual fines levied against different healthcare organizations in the United States can range anywhere from one thousand dollars to one and a half million dollars, depending on the nature and extent of the data breach. When a data breach occurs, the company’s brand is damaged, and substantial financial losses are made. The construction of a HIPAA-compliant healthcare app is a complex procedure that necessitates the assistance of an experienced healthcare app development business.