US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights received 91000 complaints of HIPAA violations, out of which 22000 were penalized, between the years 2003 to 2013. After the digitization of the health sector, the patients’ sensitive data became more vulnerable to theft.
This is why these regulations are really important. And since more and more people are getting into the healthcare industry, it is required that their healthcare app must comply with HIPAA regulations. This could be achieved by hiring a HIPAA compliant app development agency without you needing to read 100 something pages of the laws, or you can build a HIPAA compliant app for yourself if you want.
What is HIPAA?
Before getting into HIPAA compliant application development, one should know what HIPAA actually is. Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 is a public law that protects the patients’ sensitive information from being used without the consent of the patient. HIPAA puts regulations on organizations that deal with personally identifiable information to avoid any theft and fraud of this information.
Important HIPAA Rules
If you want to get into HIPAA compliant app development, you should keep these important rules in your mind.
- Privacy Rule – Only covered entities abide by this rule. This rule gives patients the right to access PHI, for healthcare providers to deny access to PHI etc.
- Security Rule – This rule makes all the transfers of ePHI to be secured. Both covered entities and business associates must comply with this rule.
- Breach Notification Rule – If any ePHI or PHI is breached, both covered entities and business associates must follow this rule. It is a set of rules that must be followed during any data breach, depending upon the size and scope of the breach.
- Omnibus Rule – This rule was added to make HIPAA apply to business associates. It also provides a rule for Business Associate Agreements(BAAs), a set of contracts between covered entities and business associates for transmission of ePHI and PHI.
HIPAA Compliant App Development
Now that you know the basics of HIPAA, how do you implement all these HIPAA requirements in your application? Well, there are three aspects of privacy that need to be protected while HIPAA compliant app development.
- Physical – These include putting restrictions on physical access to any PHI data.
- Technical – Technical factors include having encrypted and secured connections. They are using advanced technologies to safeguard every information.
- Administrative – These mostly depend on you since they include management of privacy policies and proper maintenance of these policies.
Steps to make your app HIPAA compliant:
Learning HIPAA for app developers in the healthcare industry is very important as all the apps need to be HIPAA compliant now. If you are a developer yourself, you can follow these steps for developing a HIPAA compliant app.
- Select any HIPAA-complied cloud provider – There are many cloud providers that offer HIPAA complied service as a backend. Some of the most famous providers are-
- Google Compute Engine
- Encryption should be the main priority – Now that you have selected your cloud provider, you should work on encrypting data when it is transferred from one place to another. You should also make sure that there is enough encryption provided when the data is locally stored.
- Secure your PHI – PHI should be separated and secured from other app data. The other app data can be easily accessed and thus making PHI vulnerable to theft. Separating PHI from other data will also boost the processing speed of your app since PHI requires encryption and decryption of data regularly.
- Test and Maintain – Regular security tests are always required for such an app. You can get any company to test these security measures for you. And then comes maintenance; for long-term goals, the app should be regularly maintained.
Following these simple steps, you can avoid any violation of HIPAA regulations. Make sure you understand the basic terminologies of HIPAA. Do regular security checkups of your application and keep upgrading your security. Hope the article was helpful to you in HIPAA compliant app development.