HIPAA compliant app development

HIPAA compliant app development has been on the rise in the past few years. And for good reason. As big data breaches and security threats continue to grow, concerned businesses must protect health information with utmost care. This is why the healthcare community has strict regulations in place for patient data and digital health app development.

Mobile apps have become increasingly popular in health care, and with their rise, an increasing number of providers and businesses are looking to develop applications that meet the requirements of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Although you have access to advanced application development technologies to create web-based applications, your company needs to be aware that the development of an app is still a construction project. 

Here are some best practices you can follow before you go ahead with the process of building these applications for HIPAA security.

What is the HIPAA Act?

HIPAA Act

What is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)? Let’s talk!

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was signed into law by former US president Bill Clinton. This act mandated the creation of national standards for electronic medical records.

“Protected Health Information” or PHI refers to any information held or transmitted by digital or electronic media that pertains to medical history, diagnosis or treatment in connection with the provision or use of healthcare services which can identify an individual personally.

To sum it up, the HIPAA Act protects the privacy of your health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 limits how medical information belongs to you, who can see it, and how to use it in different situations.

Developing an app for the purpose of collecting health information is a legitimate and useful activity. However, developing a platform for the transmission of signals and data intelligently for non-identical Users (PSTID) that collects health information in this manner for profit is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). 

Thus, the PSTID apps violate the privacy rights of Americans and the security expectations of employers and employees by transmitting sensitive health information without appropriate protection for the users.

Types of Healthcare Data Domains

The first step of HIPAA compliance is to identify the types of data healthcare domain interacts with. For example, basically there are two types of data – PHI and CHI that addressed by healthcare domains.

Now to fully understand HIPAA compliant app development, it is extremely important to know what comes under these two types of data domains.

1. PHI: 

PHI stands for Protected Health Information. The Privacy Rule protects health information that indicates what type of treatment or diagnosis an individual received. This type of information refers to as protected health information, or PHI for short. 

Also, the Privacy Rule does not apply only to medical records or your doctor bills. It also applies to other documents containing information about your diagnosis and treatment as well as other personal health information created or maintained by a covered entity such as a hospital, clinic, HMO, long-term care facility, or pharmacy.

Furthermore, IDPH protected health information (PHI) includes all individually identifiable health information, whether electronic, paper or other format, created by or used in the course of business by a covered entity or its business associates.

2. CHI:

CHI stands for consumer health information. This information consists of the data that’s generally gathered from devices like fitness trackers, etc. For example, this information may include how many calories you burn, your heart rate, and the number of steps you take each day, etc.

So this was all about HIPAA Act and the different types of data domains it deals with. Thus, when thinking about HIPAA compliant app development, it is imperative to keep in mind the types of data domains you will be dealing with.

In the next segment of our blog we will discuss which types of healthcare apps should comply with the HIPAA rules. And whether your healthcare app should be HIPAA compliant app development or not.

So let us begin!

Which Healthcare Apps Should Comply With HIPAA rules?

HIPAA compliant apps

The current compliance landscape for healthcare apps is full of hundreds of different apps, each with their own unique take on the healthcare industry. While there is a lot of industry collaboration behind the scenes, it can often be challenging to know what is protected and what is not.

There are hundreds of thousands of healthcare apps on the Google Play Store. It’s an exciting time to be a developer and cranking out useful apps for healthcare purposes. But, it can also be a daunting task, especially if you have no idea where to begin. 

If you’re wondering if your app requires HIPAA compliant app development and needs an update for compliance – then you’re in luck!

There has been a lot of debate around exactly what can be considered a HIPAA-compliant app. In short, the answer is that virtually anything could potentially be HIPAA compliant — if done ‘right’.

However, there are three cases when an app developer should comply with HIPAA regulations. For example:

  • App used by an entity which offers healthcare services, health insurance services, hospital or physician apps.
  • Any type of diagnosis apps
  • Apps that store any personal info of its users.

Here are some examples of the types of healthcare apps that should be HIPAA compliant.

  • Apps that enhance patient experience
  • Empower patients to be more active participants in their healthcare pathway
  • Help doctors with medical documentation
  • Encourage members to be more health conscience
  • Provide better support for the care team

How do I make an app HIPAA compliant?

hipaa compliant app development

So now let us address the most important question- how do I make my app HIPAA compliant?

HIPAA compliance is a big deal in the healthcare industry, which is why it’s so important to build an app that will remain compliant. However, most of us don’t have time to read through hundreds of pages on medicare rules and regulations. So, we get stuck when it comes to making our app HIPAA compliant.

HIPAA compliant mobile app development is a serious business. There can be huge consequences if your application is not secure and HIPAA compliant. If you’re looking for a way to start thinking about how to make your mobile apps HIPAA compliant, then this guide is what you’ve been waiting for.

There are a few things that you can take care of to make HIPAA compliant app development. For example,

  • Check if the app is a HIPAA covered entity
  • Set up a secure FTP server
  • Use SSL and strong logins
  • Work with a HIPAA compliant app company
  • Use secure network connections
  • Minimum data collection
  • Use safe data storage
  • HIPAA compliant language in your app

HIPAA compliant apps are essential in today’s medical market. Apps like Facebook and Instagram have millions of users, but they can never be HIPAA compliant. Why? It’s because those apps don’t keep medical records. 

So any app that needs to handle private patient information must be HIPAA compliant as a minimum, and achieve FHIR/FHIR. It is a compatible certification if it wants to move the needle (pun intended).

Also Read: Healthcare App Development

Why is HIPAA Compliant App Development Important?

With the advancement of technology, it is pertinent to have secure and safe apps for patient care. Thus, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) designed to protect the patient’s private medical information. 

Henceforth, any app developer creating apps that will use for storing, organizing, or managing information about a patient must follow these guidelines. This includes any app developers that contract with companies that may come across using this type of information with patients. 

Thus, it means your company may also have to ensure that the apps it develops are also HIPAA compliant if they are going to be used by patients.

As an app developer the need for HIPAA compliance is as essential as a mobile application that maintains your business integrity, manages information and technology assets and safeguards data privacy. 

In other words, HIPAA compliance is all about protecting both patients and your organization’s stakeholders from any risks associated with sensitive patient information inside a mobile device.

To conclude, HIPAA compliant apps are created after meeting the demands of HIPAA, which are a set of federal laws and regulations designed to safeguard Americans’ healthcare data

HIPAA compliant apps encrypt the data on user’s phones and tablets, and ensure that all patient information remains confidential and secure.

Important Features of a HIPAA Compliant App Development

HIPAA compliant app development is not something most clients know about, but equally as important as choosing the right app development company. Whether you use a HIPAA compliant software company for your mobile app or create your own, there will be features needed to ensure it’s HIPAA compliant.

 

 

HIPAA compliant app security

1. User Identification

HIPAA compliant app development takes the user identification on mobile apps to a whole new level. Security is a requirement for a medical app and is a tough nut to crack. Ensuring user identity in applications allows app developers to maintain the integrity of their networks as well as preventing interchange of confidential data. 

2. Data Encryption

Securing sensitive medical records and other personal data of patients using a mobile platform is not an easy task. HIPAA compliant app development is one of the best practices to be included in developing a healthcare application.

Due to the critical nature of health data, many healthcare providers employ a multilayered approach to prevent unauthorized access. Although encryption is an important part of this strategy, it should be considered just one layer.

3. Emergency Access

The ability to communicate with your team members, and to have an emergency contact is a must-have for a healthcare organization. With these HIPAA compliant apps, both are easily available in the palm of your hand.

Also Read: Simple steps to get mobile app GDPR compliance possible

How much does it cost to build a HIPAA compliant app?

HIPAA compliance of healthcare apps is mandatory for any healthcare provider that uses a mobile app. There are several elements within HIPAA that must be taken into account when developing healthcare apps. These elements include

(1) Security

(2) Access control

(3) Confidentiality

Development costs of any application depends upon many factors. For example, 

  • Location
  • Type of application
  • Type of platform involved in development
  • Technology incorporated (latest tech stack will cost more)
  • Front-end development
  • Complexity of features incorporated
  • UI/UX, animations, visuals, etc

These were some of the major aspects that contribute to the app development costs. To know more about the cost of HIPAA compliant app development contact us. We will help you to develop the best HIPAA compliant app without breaking your bank.

Related Read: Mobile app cost breakdown

Choose Idea Usher for HIPAA Compliant App Development

Private, secure apps can be tricky to build, making it hard to find tools that ensure compliance with the HIPAA security rule. Idea Usher is a leading software and app development company that designs web and mobile based solutions for you.

From design to development, we have got you covered!

Furthermore, we use cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain development, Machine Learning, and complement them with human-centric UI/UX design to offer solutions that are futuristic and result-driven. 

idea usher

Our HIPAA compliant mobile app development services are a valuable asset to your business and current patients. We create an app that is both secure and confidential, with specific protections in place to protect your industry’s subject matter.

We follow the rules and guidelines set forth by HIPAA, while making sure you don’t have to. Customized requirements? No problem. We build great looking, functional and HIPAA compliant apps for all of our clients.

Our services are not just limited to just designing and developing your app. We offer our services post your app’s launch too- like support and maintenance. We will help you to form effective PR strategies to boost up your app’s performance and its ROI

Contact us today for a roundtable discussion where we’ll give you a better idea of how to tackle these challenges on your own. 

The goal is to explore app ideas and development methods that may work for you based on our experience building both private and public applications for HIPAA-protected clients.

Conclusion

We hope you like our blog about HIPAA compliant app development and it has helped you in some way or another.

Healthcare is quickly becoming a digital industry for the future – as more services and technologies are creating for the purpose of delivering healthcare, the need for a consistent and reliable app development framework is essential. 

The HIPAA Privacy Standard establishes a set of rules and best practices for the medical and healthcare applications developed with Federal data security standards in mind. 

Also, these guidelines ensure that the user’s complete privacy settings are recorded and safeguarded throughout each and every interaction with a healthcare application.

As an app developer, you may be interested in developing an app that can help provide the above mentioned solutions for an organization. 

Developing an app that complies with HIPAA guidelines can potentially help save you time, effort and money while HIPAA compliant apps help improve the security and protection of patient medical records.

FAQs

1. What does it mean for an app to be HIPAA compliant?

An app is said to be HIPAA compliant if it follows all the rules laid down by HIPAA act. These apps implement advanced technology to safeguard the user data from any misuse and to maintain their privacy.

2. Does HIPAA apply to apps?

Yes, HIPAA applies to apps. All the apps especially those dealing with the healthcare industry must comply with the HIPAA rules to make sure the user data is safe.

Related Read: PCI compliance checklist for apps

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