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HIPAA Compliant App development: The In-Depth Guide

With HIPAA Compliant App, a healthcare company or related organizations can become compliant with the HIPAA Act of 1996.
HIPAA Compliant App development - The In-Depth Guide

The healthcare industry must implement different rules and regulations through HIPAA Compliant App. It ensures the proper conduct of services to everyone approaching the institutions. Furthermore, the laws also protect user data, allow healthcare organizations to conduct appropriate audits, process billing accurately, and more. There are several laws that the US Congress and the government have implemented to date. Out of these HIPAA compliance is considered the most crucial one. This is because of the reported 43 healthcare breaches that corrupted more than 500 records.

Healthcare records breached

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, protects consumer and public health information from piracies, data theft, malicious use, and any other such threat. A healthcare institution can only disclose the information when it gets approval from the consumer.

There are two laws that the HIPAA Act covers- security and privacy rules:

  1. Under the Privacy Rule, all healthcare-related entities need to implement proper measures and ensure that data privacy is not violated. It gives individuals the power to use their medical information according to their will. One of the major goals of HIPAA is to collect and secure medical information and facilitate its flow for optimizing healthcare web development services.
  2. According to the HIPAA Security Rule, an individual’s information related to a subset of the Privacy Rule needs to be well-protected. It protects all data collected, stored, or shared over electronic channels like mail, computers, etc.

What is the HIPAA Compliant Act?

What is the HIPAA Compliant act

According to the HIPAA Compliant Act of 1996, every organization providing healthcare services and businesses related to the same industry but acting as a third party must abide by the HIPAA Act. They should implement appropriate steps to protect user information, be it the medical reports or the billing information. Processing and sharing data with institutions/organizations must follow compliance with the HIPAA Act of 1996.

The main reasons for the implementation of the HIPAA Act are:

  1. Keeping medical records safe when used in electronic mode
  2. Deciding how medical companies and insurance organizations need to safeguard and protect personally identifiable information (PII)
  3. Describing all the limitations on the insurance coverage for healthcare

While HIPAA prevents the public sharing of patient information, certain exceptions allow these institutions to process information with or without consent from the party. These are:

  1. If a patient is a victim of sexual, physical, and domestic assault and violence
  2. If any administrative and judicial procedure needs the information
  3. If donated organs came from a cadaver body
  4. If a claim concerns workers’ compensation

What is PHI (Public Health Information)?

Public Health Information or Personal Health Information is any medical record that concerns an individual. It can be test reports, prescriptions, surgery details, insurance claims, or billing records. To protect PHI in every sense, several new changes define HIPAA, like:

  1. Protecting PHI from vendors and other third-party organizations
  2. Keeping all PHI safe from cloud computing sections

What is CHI (Consumer Health Information)?

Consumer Health Information of CHI is the practice of analyzing and reviewing medical information for literacy, education, and awareness programs. According to the US Health Department, CHI involves:

  1. Any software or hardware tool that will interact with health organizations or individuals
  2. Any online software that will use the information given by the consumer in return for showing different forms of results
  3. Any tool through which a healthcare professional will analyze or use the medical record of an individual

Who has to be HIPAA Compliant?

Who has to be HIPAA Compliant

Every organization that follows HIPAA Compliance becomes a part of Covered Entities, which includes:

  1. Organizations/institutions offering healthcare plans and programs
  2. Organizations/institutions offering healthcare cleaning and looking after sanitation and hygiene
  3. Organizations/institutions have to deal with medical records to process electronic payments, financial processes, and insurance.

Hospitals that fail to comply with HIPAA are likely to face steep penalties. Individual data breaches can result in fines ranging from $100 to $50,000.

Who has not to be HIPAA Compliant?

According to the terms and conditions laid down by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the following entities may or may not obtain HIPAA Compliance:

  • Employers belonging to different industries
  • Insurance companies offering life insurance
  • State agencies like child care state agencies, shelter homes, and more
  • Schools and colleges
  • Organizations dealing with workers’ compensation
  • Administrative and law enforcement companies and firms
  • Municipal offices

What Makes HIPAA Compliance Important?

Over time, HIPAA Compliance has become very important for both healthcare organizations and patients. It protects medical records from scams, phishing attacks, and fraud. The law also ensures that healthcare organizations and service providers can maintain a healthy relationship with patients. In the section below, we have explained the significance of the HIPAA Compliance Act for different entities.

HIPAA for Hospitals

  • HIPAA Compliance Act ensures that all paper-based records can be successfully converted into electronic records.
  • It further helps streamline all sorts of administrative operations within a healthcare agency.
  • It enhances the efficiency of different companies and institutions related to the healthcare industry.
  • HIPAA ensures that all shared medical records are kept confidential.

HIPAA for Patients

  • One of the major benefits of the HIPAA Compliance Act for patients is security assurance. They know their personal information and medical records are safe till they give consent to share them.
  • No one will have access to sensitive information about the patients. It doesn’t matter whether it’s simple billing records or information about surgery.
  • Patients have full control to decide with whom they want to share the information and what the type of shared data.
  • This law helps patients seek documents on their medical cases, regardless of whether it is a doctor’s prescription or medical bills.
  • Patients can easily find errors, scammed works, and others. For this, one needs to study and analyze medical reports obtained from different healthcare businesses and organizations.

How to Build a HIPAA-Compliant Mobile App?

Developing a HIPAA-compliant mobile application is not possible with a snap of your fingers. As compared to traditional healthcare apps, the HIPAA compliant apps need to have:

  • Enhanced security algorithms
  • Incorporation of high-level encryption programs
  • Technical terms and conditions for different types of privacy maintenance features
  • Appropriate authentication methods for preventing breaches and data theft

Physical protection of the application

Physical protection to be included during app development for healthcare are:

  1. High-level protection for the application’s backend
  2. Protection of hosting servers of software applications
  3. Use of appropriate database server for safe storage of data
  4. Protection of healthcare wearables connected with Android OS and iOS

Technical protection of the application

Technical protection for HIPAA Compliant App refers to:

  1. Implementation of user authentication system
  2. User identification procedure via biometrics
  3. Automatic logging off from the software when not in use
  4. Incorporation of emergency data access protocols
  5. No PHI data exchange through email subscriptions and push notifications
  6. Making backups and logs leakproof
  7. Limited time for storing data and automatic hardcore removal

Checklist to make an app HIPAA Compliant

Checklist to make an app HIPAA Compliant
Before HIPAA Compliant Apps Development, you need to define a proper checklist. This way, you won’t have to worry about the appropriate security levels. Besides, it also defines all protection features of medical data that your app must have. In the below section, we have mentioned a complete checklist. With this, you can easily orchestrate the entire workflow of HIPAA app development.

  1. Encryption of data before sharing and transportation

    When an application needs to transmit any form of electronic personal health information, data encryption is crucial. For this, the hosting provider, mainly the cloud, must incorporate SSL certification using HTTPS protocol. Ensure the proper implementation of the HTTPS-secured protocol is implemented. It protects the website from any kind of unauthorized access.

  2. Encryption of data storage

    All the data storehouses must ensure that security protocols have properly encrypted all data. No anonymous or external user should have access to the on-site and cloud databases. While storing data in the cloud, the implementation of an additional authentication layer is vital. It must automatically remove old and redundant data.

  3. Management of user identity and access

    A central regulatory body needs to manage all user identities and accesses. Anyone who can access medical records, billing information, and insurance claims and policies needs to have a proper User ID and password. The client needs to approve it for the HIPAA Compliant app.

    It should form new system and event logs for storing data about login attempts in other infrastructures, like databases, billing apps, and more. The single-sign-in feature also helps secure the data while allowing users to sign up once. Biometrics can form an added security level because no one will be able to copy or make a duplicate of this password.

  4. Maintenance of optimal integrity

    It is crucial to maintain the integrity of collected, stored, and processed medical records and personal health information. The data shouldn’t be corrupted or lost, no matter how long the data will be stored in the database or the channels through which the information will be transferred.

  5. Disposal of collected or stored data

    All forms of collected and stored data must have proper disposal. There shouldn’t be any multiple backups, and give any third-party organization the power to handle data or remove information from one center.

    Every company offering app development for the healthcare industry needs to incorporate features like the automatic deletion of stored medical data and personal information after a time threshold is over. The fine for one organization, however, is limited to $1,500,000 each year for one classification.

Features of a HIPAA Compliant Applications

Features of a HIPAA Compliant Applications
Every HIPAA-compliant app needs to have certain features that ensure an optimal level of security. If you aren’t aware of these features during app development for healthcare, the below-mentioned list will make you more aware. It will also help you gain superior control over the healthcare app development process.

  1. Self-audit

    Self-audits play a crucial role in delineating whether the healthcare application is completely secured or not. It is nothing but a set of questions with options like Yes, No, and NA. A few examples of these questions are:

    • “Have you properly documented all medical records from the past two years”
    • “Does your institution have to implement proper policies and procedures to follow HIPAA Compliance”.

    Doctors and other healthcare professionals can easily answer these questions periodically.

  2. Plans for remediation

    Once you receive the self-audit reports, you will realize gaps between the security and privacy protocols you have implemented and the HIPAA Compliance. To bridge this gap, you need to enact remediation plans. According to your healthcare organization, these must be unique and follow appropriate real-time tracked data and stat reports.

    The HIPAA compliance application must allow you to create, present, and modify all remediation plans to implement them easily. Apart from this, you must include features for extracting data and running analysis to know more about the performance of these plans.

  3. Proper employee training and policies

    Another major feature of the HIPAA Compliance app is the inclusion of a separate platform for creating and processing employee training. Datasets required to process the training programs must follow the company policies and organizations. It ensures no redundancy and discrepancy in the procedures.

  4. Appropriate documentation

    Appropriate documentation of all datasets and information units is vital. Everyone can easily access those records for future reference. It will also help if you document how the healthcare application is following HIPAA compliance, the steps your organization has taken to safeguard electronic data, and so on.

    With everything recorded properly, you can:

    • Avoid any falsified claims
    • Reduce errors in medical records
    • Optimize your privacy and security protocols
  5. Business associate management

    As your healthcare organization operates with different business associates like vendors, third-party organizations, and more, you should ensure all logs and data transferred are recorded appropriately. This will help you check whether the information shared and transmitted is safe.

  6. Incident management

    There will always be the risk of data breaches, despite having a strong encryption and security protocol. Therefore, you should incorporate the features of incident management with which you will be able to track any form of breach recorded, unauthorized entry into the system, and so on.

Technologies used for HIPAA app development

Several technologies can be used for healthcare web development. Below is a brief list of tech stack components widely used in the development process.

  1. Database
  2. Programming language
  3. Testing framework
  4. Deployment software
  5. The legacy data migration software

How much does it cost to build a HIPAA-compliant application?

The cost of HIPAA Compliant telemedicine app development depends on many factors that one needs to consider before choosing a development company that will come up with the perfect solution. To help you out, we have discussed the major factors on which the development cost will depend.

  1. The complexity level of the app determines the development costs.
  2. The more privacy and security you want to incorporate within the app, the costlier this process will be.
  3. Choosing high-rated mHealth app developers will increase the overall development cost.

Our Experience in HIPAA Compliant App development

Over the years, we at SolGuruz have emerged as one of the best development companies for HIPAA Compliant apps. We ensure that all the features are included in the software solution to bridge the gap between all implemented security and privacy protocols and compliance rules and regulations.

Our primary aim is to provide the topmost security and privacy covers for all businesses and organizations in the healthcare industry involved with the electronic transfer and use of medical records, personal health information, and billing information.

HIPAA Compliant App Development FAQs

How do I make my mobile app HIPAA compliant?

To ensure that the mobile app is HIPAA Compliant, you need to implement appropriate security and privacy protocols which ensure that data is transferred without any phishing or scam. All storage databases and hosting protocols need to be encrypted with the top-level protocols.

Can apps be HIPAA compliant?

Yes, mobile apps can be HIPAA compliant. The need to develop such software solutions that follow all rules and regulations proposed by HIPAA because these applications are used mostly. Customers usually like to interact with the service provider or the healthcare organization from their phone due to the enhanced level of convenience. This is why the applications must follow compliance rules for HIPAA.

How do you create a HIPAA compliant Web application?

To create the HIPAA Compliant web application, you need to implement 256-bit encryption, SSL security layer, HTTPS hosting URL, and authentication layers. Apart from that, biometrics will also help add an extra layer of security to the web application.

How do I make my API HIPAA compliant?

To ensure the APIs are compliant with HIPAA security and privacy protocols, the URLs need to be protected with SSL and have an HTTPS tag. Also, it should interact with HIPAA-compliant apps only.

Which is the top telemedicine app development company in India?

With sheer dedication and skills, SolGuruz has emerged as the top telemedicine app development company in India.

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