HIPAA compliance is required for any organization that deals with patient data. This includes healthcare providers and businesses, as well as research organizations.
A Healthcare app development company must be able to answer the question accurately, “Is your product HIPAA compliant?”. In addition, as a developer, you have to determine whether or not there are specific requirements concerning Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for HIPAA compliance.
There are five types of activities covered by HIPAA security rules:
- Electronic transactions
- Privacy rule provisions
- Security rule provisions
- Enforcement standards
- Administrative simplification standards.
Therefore, it is essential to understand all these elements before determining what app functions are necessary for your project.
Electronic Transactions refer to the standardization of how specific data fields are created and exchanged, but it is not yet clear how this can be applied to app development.
Privacy Rule Provisions protect patient and healthcare staff privacy and apply to PHI storage, use, or disclosure (protected health information). It also states that electronic media should be encrypted when required by law.
Security Rule Provisions deal with procedures to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability for all Protected Health Information (PHI) data. This means that such elements as access controls must be in place at both the application and database levels.
Enforcement Standards deal with identity proofing and authentication protocols that must be followed for third parties’ access to systems containing PHI. It also contains a provision on sanctions for non-compliance.
Administrative Simplification Standards is a sweeping regulation that sets forth detailed requirements for the design and operation of health information systems. This section is particularly relevant to app developers as it covers such elements as standardization of data formats, code sets, unique healthcare identifiers, and more.
To ensure HIPAA compliance, your healthcare app development company must be able to map the specific requirements of HIPAA onto the functions of your application. It would be best if you also understood how encryption works and what level of encryption is necessary for PHI data.
If you are not familiar with HIPAA regulations, it is essential to seek a consultant who can help you ensure your product meets all the necessary security requirements. Failing to do so could result in substantial fines or even an investigation by the OCR.
Read also: How to Build a Telemedicine App?
Benefits of HIPAA Compliance
There are many benefits to guaranteeing HIPAA compliance for your healthcare app development company. Not only will you avoid costly fines, but you will also be able to reassure your customers that their data is safe and secure.
By understanding the specific requirements of HIPAA, you can design your application to meet those standards from the outset, thus avoiding costly re-designs down the road.
Ensuring HIPAA compliance for your healthcare app development company is the best way to ensure that your product meets the highest security standards and that your customers’ data is protected at all times.
In addition, meeting HIPAA requirements can help streamline your development process.
HIPAA Compliance is Necessary for Your Healthcare App Development Company, Providers, and Customers
Benefiting all parties in healthcare mobile app development.
As the provider of patient care and operations manager for Mobile App Development Company, hospital administrators and staff understand HIPAA Privacy Rule better than anyone.
But HIPAA compliance isn’t an absolute truth—every individual responds to HIPAA requirements differently. That’s why developers must remember that patient privacy is paramount when creating their mobile applications, regardless of whether they’re classified as Covered Entities (CEs) or Business Associates (BA).
Generally speaking, every organization involved with Protected Health Information (PHI)—whether a CE or a BA—must ensure 100 percent compliance with HIPAA regulations. This means complying with numerous rules and regulations, many technology-specific. So, how do you ensure HIPAA compliance for your healthcare app development company?
The first step is understanding the HIPAA Security Rule and its corresponding standards. The Security Rule requires CEs and BAs to protect electronic PHI (ePHI) from unauthorized access, alteration, destruction, or use. This protection must include administrative, physical, and technical safeguards appropriate to the size and complexity of your organization.
Administrative safeguards involve policies and procedures that protect ePHI, such as user authentication requirements and password protocols. Physical safeguards mandate measures to protect ePHI in transit and at rest, such as locked filing cabinets and secure transport vehicles. And technical safeguards involve using security technologies to protect ePHI, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software.
In addition to meeting the specific requirements of the Security Rule, CEs and BAs must also comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The Privacy Rule sets national standards for the use and disclosure of PHI by covered entities and their business associates. It requires covered entities to take reasonable steps to ensure that their business associates protect the privacy of PHI. In other words, CEs are responsible for the privacy practices of their business associates and vice versa. This is known as the “chain of responsibility.”
There are several other HIPAA compliance requirements that healthcare app developers must keep in mind when creating mobile applications. These include implementing risk management plans, training employees, and implementing procedures for workforce management.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule guarantees patients the right to privacy concerning their PHI. Following the Privacy Rule, covered entities must protect an individual’s PHI from unauthorized uses or disclosures—including those that may occur due to software development activities. Business associates also have a responsibility to ensure that they comply with both the letter and spirit of HIPAA regulations.
For your healthcare app development company, this means making patient privacy a priority when you design your mobile apps. It would help if you never used or disclosed patient data without explicit consent from the patient or a business associate acting on their behalf. Doing so could not only subject you to massive fines, but it could also result in damage to your reputation, loss of clients, and permanent revocation of your license.
Using HIPAA is one way you can meet this requirement. However, if you are collecting information from patients for clinical trials or research purposes, be sure to use the HIPAA authorization form that is right for your organization.
Don’t forget—it’s YOUR responsibility to make sure you comply with all aspects of HIPAA regulations. Talk with a healthcare app development company if you have questions about what is required to ensure HIPAA compliance in the application space.
The best way to achieve full HIPAA Compliance is by working with a company that understands all aspects of these guidelines and has experience dealing with foreign healthcare app development companies or marketers that need to ensure they are in compliance.
Working with an experienced HIPAA-compliant application developer will ensure that the time, effort, and money invested by your company produces a valuable player in the mobile health app ecosystem instead of creating legal liability for your business. Make sure that you know the basics of HIPAA compliance before you start to develop or market a healthcare app.