Over the past few years, with an explosion in the number of mobile apps related to health and fitness, keeping Protected Health Information (PHI) safe and secure has become more critical than ever before. Consequently, individuals or companies developing healthcare apps are now being forced to develop HIPAA-compliant mobile apps. Let’s take a look at what is HIPAA Compliance and how you can make your mobile health apps comply with it!
What is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA, which stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a regulation enacted by the United States Congress in 1996 to protect the privacy of the medical records and personal health information of individuals. As an update, the HIPAA was greatly expanded in 2013 by the Final Omnibus Rule Update.
Being related to the healthcare industry, this law ultimately affects the way information is collected and store over mobile health apps. That means, if you are involved in developing mobile apps related to health and fitness, you must follow the four basic HIPAA rules:
- HIPAA Privacy Rule: This primary rule that specifies when protected health information (PHI) can be used or shared.
- Security Rule: Technical specifications and best practices that determine the way how electronic health information should be protected.
- Enforcement Rule: This rule describes the enforcement of privacy and security rules and cases when corrective actions should be taken.
- Breach Notification Rule: This rule specifies when a HIPAA covered entity and its business associates must notify certain individuals and organizations of a breach of protected health information (PHI).
If you don’t follow each of these rules, especially the security rule, you may be a victim of hefty fines and penalties imposed by the US government.
How to Make a Mobile App HIPAA Compliant
Now that you have understood what HIPAA compliance actually is, let’s get familiar with a few things you can do to make your mobile app HIPAA compliant.
#Unique User Authentication:Use a layer of protection that requires the user to authenticate using a unique login ID and password.
#Encryption of Data:Encrypt all personal health information at two levels. First, when it is collected on the device and second, during the transmission from the mobile device to the server.
#Automatic Logoff:Incorporate your mobile health app with a functionality to automatically log out the user after a certain period of time, in case he forgets to manually do the same.
#Remote Wipe:Empower users with a remote wipe feature to access and erase the PHI from their device before anyone else steals and misuses it.
#Regular Updates:Update your mobile health app frequently to protect it against the latest online threats and viruses.
#Audit Logging:Allow your mobile health to record every single entry and update to better control the use and access of PHI.
#Backup and Syncing:Provide automatic syncing and backup to help users easily transfer data onto a new device or restore it when lost.
Need Assistance to make your mobile app comply with HIPAA? Feel free to contact our experts.