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HIPAA Compliance in Software Development

HIPAA Compliance

If you want to build a healthcare app, ensure it complies with HIPAA regulations, but you don’t know where to begin with building HIPAA-compliant software. This guide will help you!
But, first thing first, you must know;

What is HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance is a federal law demanding business associates to self-manage their security parameters. These parameters must comply with specific standards set by HIPAA.

Furthermore, as per app development company in UK, it structures rules and regulations for safeguarding the privacy and security of one’s health information, Aka Protected Health Information (PHI).

Here are the key points why your healthcare app must comply with HIPAA;

Non-HIPAA-compliant products may lead to heavy penalties and brand reputation sabotage.
HIPAA sets guidelines for safeguarding PHI. It prevents unapproved access or disclosure.
HIPAA-compliant products help to build patients’ trust by taking care of their privacy seriously.
Many healthcare practitioners may work with app developers that are HIPAA-compliant.
It expands the potential customer base and increases revenue opportunities.

Which Healthcare Applications Must Adhere to HIPAA Regulations?

To build a mobile healthcare app, it must comply with HIPAA. The essential questions to answer whether your healthcare app or software needs to be HIPAA-compliant are;

What Entity Will Use the Application?

With HIPAA, compliance falls with the covered entity, including healthcare providers, health planners, healthcare clearinghouses, or business associates with PHI access.

What Data Will the Application Use, Share, Or Store?
Healthcare apps that store, record, or share PHI will comply with HIPAA rules during their use. Let’s have a quick overview of PHI;

Protected health information (PHI) and electronically protected health information (ePHI) are any traceable data about the patient, including his name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number, device identifiers, email addresses, biometrics, lab or imaging results, medical history, and payment information.

Examples of healthcare apps that must be HIPAA compliant are:

EHR apps.
Healthcare apps that collect data.
Medical records apps.
Patient monitoring apps or medication compliance apps.

With the growth of wearable tracking devices, the use of mHealth apps has remarkably increased – but not all apps need to be HIPAA compliant.

It was stated by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that HIPAA is restricted to regulating third-party health apps used by patients and not used by physicians. Examples of mHealth apps that may be omitted from HIPAA are:

Diet apps
Personal health or mental health tracking
Fitness or exercise apps

What Are the Requirements for HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA compliance is all about meeting the requirements of HIPAA and its rules and related legislation.

According to HIPAA compliance, there are some significant rules that all healthcare software apps must adhere to:

  1. Privacy Rule By HIPPA
    The Privacy Rule standards protect the use and declaration of medical records and other PHI. It is meant to provide the progression and flow of health data in a restricted way to avoid fraud and theft issues. Moreover, it gives patients access to their health information and requests for corrections of their health records.
  2. Security Rule By HIPPA
    The Security Rule sets standards to protect electronic PHI built, acquired, used, or maintained by an entity. The Security Rule requires that these entities establish “appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security” of ePHI. 
  3. Enforcement Rule By HIPPA
    The Enforcement Rule aims to establish how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implements HIPAA, with regulators calculating fines for non-compliance. Investigations mainly result from data breaches, but the United States Department of Health and Human Services reserves the right to investigate without a trigger.
  4. Omnibus Rule By HIPAA
    The Omnibus Rule is a collection of regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Omnibus Rule aimed to enhance the privacy and security protections for patients’ confidential health information founded under HIPAA.

Moreover, this rule implemented new breach notification obligations and increased penalties for non-compliance with HIPAA. It was designed to enhance patient privacy protections and to ensure that healthcare providers take relevant steps to secure patient data.
Wrap Up
We will wrap it up with the note that it is highly significant to ensure HIPAA compliance by web development company in UK.

The objective should be to build healthcare apps that protect patient’s confidential health information and avoid legal and financial penalties. It is highly essential to be following best practices such as;

Conducting a risk assessment
Implementing appropriate security measures, and 
Providing employee training

Such practices may help developers create HIPAA-compliant software. Moreover, it is also mandatory to stay up-to-date with regulatory changes by conducting regular audits and testing. Furthermore, documenting compliance efforts is also essential for maintaining compliance over time. 

Prioritizing HIPAA compliance in software development can create high-quality and secure software.

Related: Apps Banned by Google

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