Ensuring HIPAA Compliance: Why It’s Important for mHealth Apps

Technology’s ever-onward progress has led to the development of mHealth apps. Software program packages that are developed to run on a computer or mobile device to realize a specific purpose are defined as “apps”. The rapid assimilation of mobile devices into medical practice has been driven by the rising availability and ever-improving quality of healthcare software applications.

A central milestone of legislation in the healthcare industry is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. It was primarily introduced to address the issue of insurance coverage for those who are changing jobs. Over the years, several amendments have been made to the act.

Now, it governs the security of protected healthcare information (PHI) and restricts unauthorized access to healthcare data to ensure the prevention of healthcare fraud.

Medical applications of mHealth apps can range from prescribing, diagnosis and treatment, practice management, drug reference guides, and calorie calculators to simple health exams such as hearing, vision, and speech tests.

The introduction of HIPAA compliance has helped the healthcare industry in numerous ways. Its most significant contribution has been helping the industry transition from paper records of patient health information to digital copies.

This transformation has enabled hospitals to simplify their administrative healthcare functions and improve the efficiency of their organizations. But most importantly, HIPAA compliance in mHealth apps has ensured that a patient’s healthcare information is protected. Without it, healthcare organizations would not be required to safeguard patients’ healthcare information.

The healthcare service providers would not have faced any repercussions even if sensitive health information was exposed or stolen. HIPAA strictly controls who has access to health data, and even patients can decide who their data is shared with.

Related Read: The Complete mHealth App Development Guide for Success

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Statistics indicate that there are 325,000 and increasing mobile health applications available on Google Play. The staggering number of mHealth apps indicates that to develop a successful healthcare application, we need to consult an accredited technology solutions provider that can provide consultancy services and guarantee absolute user satisfaction.

mhealth-apps-market-statistics

The sheer number of applications available brings along with it new challenges such as lack of functionality, improper testing, inaccurate data generation, etc. That’s why at Mindbowser we offer top-of-the-line, efficient, and satisfying next-generation technology solutions.

Mindbowser crafts impeccable digital healthcare solutions that are HIPAA compliant for health tech companies and healthcare institutions alike. We have extensive knowledge of HL7 and FHIR as well.

Related Read: Choosing the Right mHealth App Development Tech Stack 2023

All About HIPAA Compliance

Before we proceed any further, we must first learn about the healthcare data security federal law, HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is a federal law that necessitates the formulation of governmental standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the HIPAA Privacy Rule to fulfill the requirements set by HIPAA. In addition to the Privacy Rule, the HIPAA Security Rule protects certain types of information.

The Privacy Rule standards specialize in the utilization and disclosure of individuals’ health information by entities accountable to the Privacy Rule. These organizations and individuals are called “covered entities.” The Privacy Rule also consists of regulations for individuals’ right to control how medical information is employed.

The main goal of the Privacy Rule is to verify that individuals’ sensitive information is satisfactorily protected while enabling the circulation of information needed to provide and promote high-quality health care. HIPAA compliance also safeguards people’s right to seek care and healing.

Mindbowser ensures that all healthcare applications we develop obey HIPAA rules and regulations.

Entities Covered Under HIPAA Compliance

Entities Covered in HIPAA

HIPAA compliance is important as it amasses information from service providers that have a wider scope and are not limited to direct service providers.

Significance of HIPAA Compliance in mHealth Apps

mobile-health-applications

We all know technology is never immune to abuse. Smartphones can be stolen or hacked, and thus unauthorized access to sensitive information is always a possibility.
As a result, HIPAA-protected classified knowledge can be easily compromised. This is why we at Mindbowser undertake continuous efforts to be certain that our data security measures are up to standard. We achieve this by following a series of measures outlined as follows:

Outlining a Line of Action

HIPAA has developed a series of compliance tests that need to be cleared before any application can be deployed. We at Mindbowser always aim to pass all of the tests. We avoid making common mistakes through meticulous planning. Data security is preserved by augmenting the various security tools available to us.

Limited Push Notifications

Smartphone devices are vulnerable to viruses and hacking threats that enable push notifications. In accordance with HIPAA, Mindbowser ascertains that our applications never send unnecessary push notifications to our users.

HIPAA Security Rules and its Conformity

Based on the current state of our application development and the estimated plan, there is another set of rules created by HIPAA. We double-check to make sure that we follow the rules:

HIPAA Compliance Rules

🔹 HIPAA Privacy Rule
The primary purpose of the Privacy Rule is to incorporate events where someone shares information.

🔹 Security Rule
Security rules control how the data is stored securely on any electronic device.

🔹 HIPAA Enforcement Rule
The enforcement rule outlines how effectively HIPAA laws are being followed by our application.

🔹 HIPAA Breach Notification Rule
The Breach Notification Rule governs how unwarranted notifications are handled in case of a hacking attempt.

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mHealth App Development Workflow at Mindbowser

Our engineers develop HIPAA-compliant mHealth apps for iOS and Android mobile platforms using native as well as hybrid technologies. We have integrated apps with Apple HealthKit, Fitbit, and other hardware devices. We provide end-to-end healthcare app development solutions to simplify booking doctor appointments.

Concept Development

  • Business analysis
  • Wireframes
  • Prototyping
  • Project estimation

UI/UX Development

  • Brand identity
  • UX Design
  • UI Design
  • Design Sprint

Technical Development

  • Product roadmap
  • Project architecture
  • Web & mobile app development itself

Quality Assistant

  • Automated testing
  • Manual testing
  • Lifecycle testing

Business Platform Support

  • Maintenance
  • Continuous development
  • Long-time partnership

Advantages of HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA compliance is crucial for mHealth app development to protect patient health information and maintain its reputation. It provides numerous benefits, including reduced risk, increased patient trust, enhanced security, and interoperability.

🔹 HIPAA compliance requires organizations to implement a variety of security measures to protect patient health information (PHI). This can help prevent unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of PHI.

🔹 Compliance encourages data sharing among healthcare entities, enhancing care coordination and patient outcomes.

🔹 It can help organizations improve their operational efficiency by simplifying healthcare processes and redundancy.

🔹 HIPAA compliance opens doors of opportunity for organizations and establishes a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Many patients and businesses are now looking for HIPAA-compliant providers and partners.

🔹 Patients and partners are more likely to trust healthcare providers/organizations that are HIPAA compliant.

coma

Conclusion

Abiding by HIPAA rules is imperative for healthcare-oriented applications. Obeying HIPAA-prescribed standards ensures safeguarding your application from legal repercussions. A lot of work needs to be put in for a mHealth application to fully conform to HIPAA compliance. Developers need to factor in the aforementioned points to maintain proper compliance. Preserving confidential information is of utmost importance for medical application development. At Mindbowser, we provide HIPAA-approved healthcare solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why must a healthcare app be HIPAA compliant?

HIPAA compliance is important for healthcare applications to protect patient privacy, avoid legal consequences, and maintain trust in the healthcare system.

Does HIPAA apply to mobile health apps?

Yes, HIPAA applies to mobile apps that collect, store, or transmit protected health information (PHI). This includes apps that allow patients to access their medical records, schedule appointments, or communicate with their healthcare providers.

How do I make my mobile app HIPAA compliant?

To make your mobile app HIPAA compliant, you must implement strong security measures, collect and use PHI only as necessary, obtain patient consent, develop a privacy policy, and conduct regular security assessments.

What is the main key to HIPAA compliance?

The main key to HIPAA compliance is to implement a comprehensive compliance program that includes policies and procedures, training, risk assessment, and audit.

What are the 5 most important parts of HIPAA?

The 5 most important parts of HIPAA are the Privacy Rule, Security Rule, Transactions and Code Sets Rule, Unique Identifiers Rule, and Enforcement Rule. These rules work together to protect patients’ health information and ensure the privacy, security, and efficiency of the healthcare system.

Content Team

This blog is from Mindbowser‘s content team – a group of individuals coming together to create pieces that you may like. If you have feedback, please drop us a message on contact@mindbowser.com

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