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App DevelopmentComputers and TechnologyHealth and FitnessMedicalTechWeb DesigningWeb Development

HIPAA Compliant App Development

If you’re considering entering the healthcare business or developing a secure healthcare mobile app, like telemedicine app development or telehealth software solution you should be familiar with HIPAA. A healthcare web platform, remote patient monitoring app solution, mobile app development for healthcare, also, EHR, EMR solutions, pharmacy app development, and care management solution all are types of healthcare software development. The same article will enlighten all you need to know about HIPAA Compliant App Development or HIPAA compliance for healthcare app development and also healthcare software development. 

The healthcare business has long been one of the most robust and stable cornerstones of the global economy. This industry has quickly received widespread technical acceptability and continues to grow at an extraordinary rate. 

At the same time, the industry witnessed increased lift as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. In the aftermath of the Coronavirus, many healthcare app solutions have emerged. That implies healthcare software and app development is on the increase, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. 

About HIPAA Compliance 

The HIPAA Security Rule establishes strict criteria for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and also availability of protected health information (PHI). HIPAA-compliant apps that want to appropriately handle security to protect ePHI must meet the guidelines provided by the three HIPAA security safeguards: 

  • Technical precautions, such as firewalls, encryption, and virus prevention, address cybersecurity and network infrastructure. 
  • Physical safeguards, such as locks or alarm systems, limit and regulate access to physical workplaces where ePHI is held or maintained. 
  • Administrative protections include rules, processes, documentation, and employee training to ensure that the workforce adheres to security requirements across the firm. 

When creating a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine app development or healthcare software solution, numerous technological and also physical precautions indicate what must be incorporated throughout the software development process. 

HIPAA is a fantastic initiative that establishes standards and protocols that are followed, regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to protect and secure Protected Health Information (PHI) as defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. (Aka HIPAA). 

Domains of Healthcare Data

PHI (Protected Health Information) – PHI includes all aspects of patient information. Entities covered by this act utilize, store, retain, and distribute this information. If you create a HIPAA-compliant healthcare app development or telemedicine app, it should only function and operate in accordance with PHI requirements. 

Consumer Health Information (CHI) – CHI refers to any information that is not shared with a covered entity. These can measure many health parameters, but the data is not deemed PHI and is not transmitted to the covered business.  

Importance of HIPAA Compliance  

HIPAA guarantees: 

  • Data security, 
  • Security of healthcare data, 
  • Data communication between care providers, health plans, and other entities is risk-free. 
  • Notification of breaches in healthcare records. 

However, the most important ones all come down to data security. HIPAA attempts to protect patient’s privacy and confidentiality, hence preventing fraudulent activities. Nonetheless, HIPAA has aided in improving efficiency and streamlining regulatory healthcare duties. 

HIPAA Compliant App Development
HIPAA Compliant App Development

HIPAA-Compliant Healthcare Rules to Check Before Developing a Mobile App Privacy Rule 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is intended to safeguard individuals’ medical records and also other personal health information. Which are also maintained by covered organizations, which are classified as health care clearinghouses, employer-sponsored health plans, health insurers, and medical service providers. 

This regulation places restrictions on the kind of uses and disclosures that can and cannot be done without the patient’s permission. Patients can see and get copies of their health records, as well as request revisions to their files, under this law. 

Security Rule 

HIPAA’s Security Rule, as a component of the Privacy Rule, applies (particularly) to electronic personal health information (aka ePHI). This rule is intended to safeguard persons’ electronic personal health information generated, received, used, and/or stored by covered businesses. 

As a matter of fact, to preserve the confidentiality, integrity, and security of one’s health information, the HIPAA Security Rule requires the implementation of three types of safeguards: administrative, physical, and technical. 

Rule of Enforceability 

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal entities have jurisdiction over the HIPAA Enforcement Rule. It entails tight enforcement of the Privacy Rule (since 2003) and the Security and Breach Notification Standards (since 2009), which comprise compliance rules, investigations, hearings, and fines for infractions. 

Under this rule, the HHS reserves all rights to hold firms responsible for noncompliance with fines and other penalties. Depending on the breach and infraction, corporations might face fines ranging from $100 to $1.5 million, or even $250,000, as well as up to ten years imprisonment. 

The Breach Notification Regulation 

A breach is defined as any unauthorized use or disclosure of PHI by anyone other than covered entities. The Breach Notification Rule of HIPAA is intended to alert patients when someone improperly uses or discloses their protected health information (PHI), jeopardizing the privacy and security of the health information. 

If the breach affects more than 500 people, a covered entity must notify media outlets serving the state where the violation occurred, as well as HHS, without undue delay or up to 60 calendar days from the date of discovery. If the breach affects less than 500 people, covered companies can keep track of the pertinent data and notify HHS within 60 days. 

The General Rule 

The HIPAA Omnibus Rule primarily requires healthcare providers to amend their Business Associate Agreements (BAA) to ensure compliance with HIPAA requirements. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its final Omnibus Rule in 2013 to strengthen HIPAA privacy and security safeguards. 

The Omnibus Final Rule (the most current amendment to HIPAA) modifies the Security, Privacy, Breach Notification, and Enforcement Rules in order to improve data exchange confidentiality and security. In an increasingly digital environment, this law was enacted to protect patient’s privacy and health information. 

What Does HIPAA Compliance Mean for Health App Developers? 

HIPAA compliance is not required for all health-related apps on the market. When working with HIPAA software standards for mHealth app development, you can collect, store, and send PHI. 

The following criteria should be used to determine whether your application is HIPAA compliant: 

  • Type of app user 
  • The app’s data format (the information that is generated, stored, or shared) 
  • The software application type (encryption type) 

If your healthcare software is intended for usage by a covered entity, you will almost certainly need to comply with HIPAA. Healthcare app for mobile devices HIPAA compliance applies to PHI transactions, which include information contained in a patient’s medical record or utilized for healthcare services such as treatment, payment, or disclosure. 

Apply HIPAA to Your Healthcare Mobile Application 

Today a medical app development company follows HIPAA compliance to ensure the security and norms for their clients. A healthcare software company has compliance experts who foresee the changes and direct healthcare app developers to make necessary changes. The features required by a healthcare organization are also closely monitored for compliance and this helps in creating the HIPAA-compliant app development process.  

With the following, you can apply HIPPA to your healthcare mobile application. 

Access Control 

A HIPAA-compliant mobile app that maintains PHI must impose restrictions on viewing or altering personal health-related information. Why? Because the HIPAA Privacy Rule explicitly stipulates that access to patient information should be based on clearance level and requirement. 

Identification Proof for Authenticity 

After the unique ID has been assigned and role-based access has been granted, the user must be identified. In this stage, you must confirm who has access to PHI. Authentication options for HIPAA-compliant healthcare mobile apps include biometric data, passwords, physical means (for differentiating evidence), OTP, smart token, 2FA/MFA, and PIN. 

Maintain Transmission Security 

PHI transferred through the app network is fully encrypted during transmission, thanks to transmission security. For example, the HTTPS protocol uses SSL/TLS to encrypt data. It effortlessly converts PHI into a sequence of characters using a proprietary algorithm. You may also encrypt data during transmission using AWS, Firebase, Google Cloud, or any other popular provider that supports Transport Layer Security. 

Use Appropriate PHI Disposal 

Another important HIPAA obligation that you must meet is PHI disposal. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, expired archival and backup data should be permanently disposed of to safeguard patient privacy (HHS). Furthermore, HIPAA requires that unneeded material containing PHI be properly destroyed rather than merely discarded. 

Logging out automatically 

To maintain security, covered businesses and business partners must adopt automatic logoff processes for HIPAA-compliant apps, according to the HIPAA Security Rule. Users frequently fail to log out of an app, resulting in data loss or theft. Auto logoff guarantees that the software is pre-programmed to automatically stop a session after a period of inactivity. This will prevent PHI from being mishandled, resulting in greatly improved security. 

Examine Audit Controls 

The audit is a critical stage in developing HIPAA-compliant healthcare apps that should not be overlooked. Why? Because failure to maintain audit procedures might result in increased fines. So, it’s better if you can keep track of what happens to the PHI saved in the app. Keep track of every time a user signs. You will be informed of any operations conducted via the HIPAA mobile app in this manner. 

Use Encryption 

Encryption is the most effective method of protecting data from outsiders and keeping it secure. It ensures data integrity by allowing risk-free data flow over a network. You may do this by developing codes that need a decryption key to turn the data into a human-readable format. That being said, for (securely) storing data in the backend, you may utilize RSA and AES methods with crucial keys or encrypted databases like SQL Cipher. 

Maintain Data Backup and Storage 

Most difficulties related to data loss may be avoided with regular backups. Also, It is critical to have a retrievable backup to ensure data integrity. As a matter of fact, ideally, the backup should be stored on a server in a different data center. Multiple backups kept on encrypted hardware or a protected data cloud aid in the safety of sensitive data. This ensures optimum data protection on a HIPAA-compliant mobile app. 

Maintenance that is ongoing 

Maintenance is an important step in guaranteeing the stability and performance of your healthcare app. You must perform frequent maintenance to keep your software safe, reliable, and free of bugs, breaches, malfunctions, and crashes. Furthermore, to verify the app’s integrity, you must always test the program dynamically and statistically. Especially after each upgrade, to ensure the app works properly on all targeted platforms. 

Conclusion

HIPAA compliance is a must to be followed by a healthcare software development company for serving their clients. A Telemedicine app development solution, telehealth app development, remote patient monitoring solutions, medical app development, insurance check integration solution, and also EHR and EMR solution development and integration are on the rise. Hence these solutions need to follow compliance and set rules by authority. Software development for healthcare applications is in demand. Hence the mobile app developers and healthcare software developers need to be aware of HIPAA. This is to ensure the complete security and privacy of patients or providers the healthcare organization is engaged with. HIPAA compliance does help in building a reputation of a healthcare organization. It is a must for all healthcare organizations seeking medical app development.  

Emorphis Technologies

Emorphis Technologies is a software development company having offices in Irvine, California, also in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and one office in Indore, India, offering its services for Digital transformation in enterprise mobility solutions, cloud computing services, internet of things solutions development, backend development, big data and analytics, salesforce consulting services, healthcare software development, Telemedicine app development, Retail and ecommerce solution development, fintech app development and Blockchain app development. Emorphis is a global specialist, providing software product/application engineering services to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), software-enabled businesses, and companies that work on embedded software. Our clients partner with us to achieve their business goals, by relying on our commitment to drive real business results and our proven ability to deliver high-quality services and support throughout the product life-cycle. Emorphis is a boutique technology company with experience & expertise in various Technologies like .Net, J2EE, PHP, iOS, Android, etc, and Cloud Computing like Amazon Web services (AWS), Software QA & testing (Manual & Automation). We design Products that are cloud-ready and can be deployed on AWS/Azure like cloud infrastructure. Our focus on engineering innovation and R&D help shorten time-to-market, ensure higher quality at low cost, and deliver greater innovation to compete in a global marketplace. We ensure that your ideas and requirements are backed by brilliant execution. And we extend end-to-end ownership of your product/application design, development, and deployment.

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