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A Comprehensive Guide for HIPAA Mobile Application Development

The healthcare industry is definitely among the most important ones in the lives of all. As the technological boom affected most spheres, healthcare hasn’t been left behind. The modern generation turns out to be highly concerned about the field, so various healthcare applications are introduced with the speed of light. If you want to get ahead of all the others, it’s advised to center the attention on HIPAA-compliant platforms. Being familiar with modern healthcare regulation requirements, Diversido can help you both with the technical expertise and healthcare mobile apps development knowledge.

Innovative software projects are fundamental, especially if you are willing to create functional apps with uninterrupted access to the patient base and related information. However, along with the access, it’s vital to ensure data security, and that is where HIPAA comes in.

HIPAA — the basics

You might be not aware of what the HIPAA act stands for. The abbreviation stands for the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act. The Act was created as long as 25 years ago. However, with some updates, it continues to operate and ensure that no alterations are done to the patient’s data. Also, it protects data from the hands of fraudsters.

Primarily, the HIPAA concerns medical insurance, its coverage, and maintenance. So, the related taxation, along with other expenses, is controlled with its help. Basically, it is a set of rules and regulations that every legal medical and healthcare-related application or software should comply with.

What HIPAA violation may result in?

Some service providers may view the importance of HIPAA as nothing but overrated. However, you must know what the act violation may result in. Firstly, should a breach or violation be spotted, the business or institution that uses the software will be bound to pay a considerable fine. Upon notifying the patient about the data leak, the organization will pay another big-sum fine and may even be subject to criminal charges.

These days, anyone who wants to get involved with HIPAA-compliant software needs to get into serious training programs, highlighting all possible risks. There are no official programs to take part in, but trusted companies assist.

Which apps should comply with HIPAA?

Learning about the HIPAA basics, you might be concerned about what types of healthcare software should comply with it. The truth is that the Act applies to a range of entities related to the industry.

The main categories to keep in mind are:

Entity apps – any software designed and developed for an individual medical care practitioner, clinic, or hospital should comply with the Act. For instance, an application that involves doctor-patient interaction should be HIPAA-compliant since medical institutions and doctors are defined as entities. On the other hand, software that assists a patient in sticking up with a personalized medical routine or schedule and doesn’t involve entities is not required to be Act-compliant;

Data apps – any software or application with access to patients’ personal information is supposed to be HIPAA-compliant. For example, an application created to assist in medical research with no person-identifying information is safe to go without HIPAA. However, should a single element of the program or app indicate a particular person’s private data – HIPAA compliance is a must;

Software security apps – any software related to data access and control should be HIPAA-compliant.

How do you create HIPAA-compliant apps?

When working on the primary HIPAA-compliant app, a developer may face some difficulties that can cause an unfortunate failure. To rule those out, it’s best to remember that four main elements make an app functional and HIPAA-compliant. Those would be the privacy, security, enforcement, and breach rules.

Any app development company should center attention on privacy and security terms. There are both physical and technical safeguards to keep in mind.

Physical safeguards – any backend as well as transfer network data should be well-protected. One of the safest means to ensure that the information can’t be stolen or compromised would be incorporating a few-step authentication into the system.

Technical safeguards — any data should be encrypted. This especially concerns the data stores on various servers or devices. The leading practices involve the following:

  • Emergency access;
  • Peculiar user identification;
  • Automated log-off.

If you are not sure how to follow these safeguards, there is a little loophole that can ease your effort – use as much data as necessary and don’t embrace more information needed for the service.

Main steps to take to develop a good HIPAA compliant app

Aside from the major safeguards to consider while working on HIPAA software, there a few more steps that will ensure the app’s success:

  • All transported data should be encrypted before being moved from the network or server;
  • No matter how reliable the software in use is, a backup copy of the information for the case of emergency should be created regularly;
  • Only authorized staff should be able to access and alter information when needed. Ensure that no third parties have access to patients’ data;
  • No unsanctioned data alterations should be enabled. All the changes are to be approved by the responsible individual or group of individuals;
  • Inactive data encryption is a must. Even if the patient information is only stored and not used, storage encryption should be intact;
  • Regular unused data disposal. Once the data is no longer required, it should be deleted with no trace of it in the system.

Final words

All in all, the primary purpose of HIPAA is to ensure patients’ data protection. That is the main goal all the healthcare industry should opt for. Should you, as a business institution or a related individual, fail to secure the patients’ data, huge fines and criminal penalties will follow. HIPAA-compliant apps are not that difficult to develop as long as you have the required resources and a trusted vendor at hand.

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