What can be the cost of stolen medical records? Well, it is literally not possible because each medical record means a lot to an individual, a patient. From blackmailing patients to accomplishment of mela fide objectives, any breach of the data can remain harmful to the victim. Here is where HIPPA Compliance step in. Also known as Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA is designed to protect the individual’s health-related information.
As per the US statistics report, the data of approximately 79 million patients was compromised to date. It included name, contact details, social information, and even medical IDs. The healthcare organizations can lose reputation and credibility along with monetary losses due to such hacking attempts. Today, many healthcare service providers embrace mobile apps to serve their patients with a personalized experience. In such a scenario, the healthcare app development companies need to take care of HIPAA compliance.
Why HIPAA Compliance is necessary for Healthcare App Development?
These days, healthcare service providers tend to offer feature-rich health apps to their patients. Such apps include the user’s personal and sensitive information. Now in case of a data breach, it is necessary to define accountability and responsibility. Also, there must be a regulatory framework that handles queries or threats related to a data breach. The solution lies in HIPAA Compliance for healthcare apps.
HIPAA came into existence when Java was in the nascent stage, and Google was attempting to set up its search engine. As technology advances, the authority has finalized the year 2013 for implementing final HIPAA Compliance. Since then, the role of HIPAA Compliance in healthcare app development has become crucial.
In recent years, we have come across many healthcare apps that can help service providers target an audience consists of people reside in remote places. Different medical apps have made the user’s lives more comfortable and easy. Patients can easily schedule an appointment with the healthcare professionals and track their vital parameters as well. But, these apps need confidential data of the users, which makes these apps vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance for a healthcare app that it remains HIPAA Compliant and protects the user’s sensitive data. Any healthcare service provider who deals with Protected Health Information (PHI) needs to adopt this standard and ensures that all applications and devices follow it completely.
Here we jot down the most common violations of HIPAA standards in the healthcare sector.
Most prevalent HIPAA Violations that shook the Healthcare Industry
- EHR (Electronic Health Record) Breach
- Stolen devices and smartphones
- Sending Protected Health Information (PHI) to third-party
- Cyberattack through malware or hacking attempt
- Office break-in and Social Media Account hacking
Apart from safeguarding your organization from these violations, healthcare apps with HIPAA Compliance can give the following benefits to the application.
Importance of HIPAA-Compliant apps for your healthcare company
- Unique authentication system
Technology advances to open the doors of new possibilities for developers and hackers alike. It is, therefore, necessary to introduce a unique user authentication system. It can save the app from any unauthorized attempt or access. Though this is the most basic technology still, it is highly effective in avoiding any malicious efforts.
- Safe infrastructure
Every healthcare mobile app should come with a chat feature to establish secure and instant communication. Instant communication can enable patients to communicate with physicians. But then, it increases the risk of data leakage. Therefore, healthcare app development companies need to establish a communication platform that can easily withstand any security breaches. The cloud-based secure communication infrastructure can minimize the risk.
- Data encryption
From files to texts to recordings, the patient’s crucial health data can be shared in multiple forms through an app. End-to-end encryption can keep such data safe on the devices. It initially stores the data on the user’s device for a temporary period and then transmits the data on other devices from where only authorized persons can access. It can boost your healthcare company’s trustworthiness and people find it very safe to share their personal information.
- Regular updates
Even after getting a HIPAA Compliance certification, it is necessary to keep the app in line with the prevalent standards. There, regular security and other necessary app updates can work wonders. Also, regular updates can maintain the user’s confidence in your app as well as the company, and other people also get attracted to your app.
How to develop a HIPAA-compliant Healthcare App
When it comes to HIPAA-compliant app development, you need to consider the following factors while keeping healthcare professionals, app developers, and your company’s management in sync.
Cost of apps
This is a major factor to consider because the healthcare app development cost can increase significantly while making the app HIPAA-Compliant. It is because such apps have in-built complex features and functionality for implementing physical, administrative, and technical safeguards. Also, creating, documenting, and implementing all the necessary measures to get a HIPAA certification can also take a lot of time that increases the overall development period.
Control of Access
The healthcare company that deals with PHI should limit the access selectively. In other words, such companies need to define who can view, modify, and update the patient or user’s data. As per HIPAA law, no person can actually visit the patient’s data more than the necessary fields. It also empowers users to use their rights to enable or restrict people to view their data.
A HIPAA-Compliant app has an ID or person authentication feature to enable administrators to track people who are trying to view the PHI. In other words, your healthcare organization can easily find whether any hackers have attempted to access the patient’s data through unique IDs. The authentication feature demands a valid password, biometrics, PIN, or physical mediums to give access to the patient’s information.
PHI disposal functionality enables you to delete the PHI when it is of no use. For example, in the event of the demise of the patient, their PHI can be deleted from the storage space.
Data Transmission Feature
Apart from message encryption, you need to make sure that your network is secure enough for transmitting the PHI. Therefore, the healthcare mobile app should be developed in accordance with HTTPS and SSL/TLS. Along with this, data storage and backup should also be secured. In a way, data storage, access, and transmission play a crucial role in developing HIPAA Compliant healthcare apps.
Mobile devices are a soft target for hackers, and therefore, remain vulnerable to attacks all the time. Also, these devices have a risk of stealing away, and the users can lose all critical information instantly. The screen-lock, remote data erasure, etc. are some of the features that provide the healthcare app additional security in such instances. In a way, the risk of data loss reduces considerably.
A HIPAA-Compliant medical app enables you to leverage the benefits of technological advancements while maintaining the security of your patients’ confidential data. You can enhance the trustworthiness of your healthcare organization and expand services to remote areas easily through a seamlessly-performing app. All you need to find the right and reliable healthcare app development company to make the most of mobility and other emerging technologies.