The year 2020 has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Events (mostly unfortunate) have kept on happening at an unprecedented pace.
However, these challenging times call for creative measures, and when you combine sharp business minds with modern technology, it opens up a whole host of opportunities. One such opportunity that has opened up during COVID-19 is the development of various Health Care Apps to help reduce the pressure on the Health Care Department of countries.
Individuals and companies have realized that this pandemic has presented the chance for advancements in the not-so-familiar Telemedicine industry. We have witnessed a significant increase in the launch of Health-related apps in Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store by established Health Organizations.
However, these apps must be HIPAA Compliant before launching them into the market.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), introduced in 1996, is the regulatory standard that a developer has to follow while developing an app. There are other compliances, but they vary from nation to nation. HIPAA is the standard for all countries.
The purpose of HIPAA is to provide a high-level of security for mobile app users to protect their medical records and Personal Health Information (PHI).
If you can’t guarantee the safety of a patient’s confidential information, your app and brand’s integrity will get diminished forever.
How can you make your app HIPAA Compliant?
There are specific Guidelines, Security Safeguards, and Fundamental Elements that you need to follow to make your app HIPAA Compliant and trustworthy for your users.
So, what are they?
The fundamental HIPAA Guidelines are-
- Only authorized users should have access to ePHI, i.e., electronic Protected Health Information. The ePHI includes patients’ confidential information such as medical records created, stored, transmitted, or received in any electronic format or media.
- Data transmission should be fully encrypted to protect the integrity of ePHI.
- A system of monitoring communications containing ePHI should get implemented to prevent accidental or malicious breaches.
The three HIPAA Security Safeguards to get implemented include-
- Technical Safeguards:
- Network infrastructure and cybersecurity, such as malware protection, encryption, and firewalls.
- Complete encryption of data that can be stored or transferred through Algorithms like AES (Advanced Encryption Standard).
- Automatic Logoff feature, which will protect PHI when someone loses their device while logged in your app.
- Unique User Identification, i.e., each user must have their own login credentials. Even employees should not use a common username or password to log in.
- Security Lock or DND feature to give the user control over data sharing.
- Emergency Access Procedures, i.e., during an emergency, there should be a way to access only necessary ePHI.
- Physical Safeguards:
- Protection of the backend, i.e., where the ePHI gets stored through a multi-factor authentication system.
- Protection to limit and access control to physical work sites where ePHI is maintained, such as locks or alarm systems.
- If the user deletes your app after some time, all the sensitive data, including ePHI, must be wiped out to ensure no healthcare data remains on the device.
- Administrative Safeguards:
- Staff training ensures that all the policies, procedures, and documentation get appropriately followed to maintain the app’s security standards.
- In the event of a data breach, a contingency plan must get implemented to notify all the affected parties.
- Information Access Management to provide access to only relevant ePHI.
Certain fundamental elements need to be in place to ensure proper HIPAA Compliance-
- Appointing a Compliance Officer and a Compliance Committee.
- Executing all the written policies, procedures, and standards.
- Conducting regular training for Employees.
- Conducting internal monitoring and auditing.
- Promptly responding to any data breach incident and taking necessary measures.
- Developing effective lines of communication.
In Conclusion, the current scenario demands the growth of Digital Health Care through apps. The basis of an application is the level of security provided for the end-user, and if your app is not secure enough, there is no point in launching it in the market.
If you plan to invest in the healthcare sector and develop a HIPAA compliant technological software or app, look no further than 6DegreesIT. Our professional developers will leave no stone unturned to create the most secure and reliable product for you, which will yield your desired outcome.
Contact us today!