Develop HIPAA-Compliant Mobile Apps With These 5 Tips

Pappi Hex

The need for a mobile-based application is a mark of growth, especially at a time when companies are mostly moving to digital platforms. It offers a new channel for customers to access their products and services. With a mobile app, your company can even reach previously untapped segments of the market, opening opportunities for further growth.

However, there are regulations and standards app developers must follow as part of standard coding and testing processes. These rules protect the consumers and help retain a level of cybersecurity and functionality for the apps that become available to the public. One of them is HIPAA, which outlines data security measures your company must take in order to protect customer data

At a time when staying safe online is as important as physical safety, learning about HIPAA and how to implement it is important. To learn more about HIPAA and to develop your mobile app in compliance with this standard, here’s everything you need to know.

Understanding HIPAA

As mentioned, HIPAA ensures that websites, digital platforms, and mobile apps that receive, store, handle, process, and transact patient information take steps to secure these pieces of information. According to the cyber insurance policy platform CyberPolicy, your medical information is worth ten times more compared to your credit card info–making it a prime target for cybersecurity attacks and identity fraud attempts.

This is why the federal government has passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or HIPAA. Under this law, various government units worked together to create a set of standards that aims to protect sensitive patient health information from being divulged without the right consent or knowledge. It also covers the following strategies relating to patient care and information:

  • Insurance Portability, or the right of policyholders to transfer the credits and coverage as they switch insurance providers, usually comes as a result of changing employers.

  • Standards to improve safety and efficiency in handling health care data.

  • Preventing discrimination, data theft, and identity fraud

Tips for developing your HIPAA-compliant mobile app

To clarify, HIPAA doesn’t only apply to mobile apps. Every platform that involves the collection of protected health information (PHI) is covered by the law–and checking this HIPAA Compliance Guide and Checklist. This includes To start developing your mobile app that follows HIPAA standards, here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Enlist a professional

Within the wide world of website and app development, there are experienced healthcare application developers. Regardless of your intended application, their particular experience will make it easier for you to find available options and strategies in realizing your vision while keeping your commitment to customer information safety.

2. Define data limits

Depending on your particular intention with the mobile app that you’re developing, there is an understandable need together data for a customized and improved customer experience. However, make sure that the data you will collect are only those that you need.

Similarly, it is important for any HIPAA-compliant mobile app to know which pieces of information are covered by the law. There are 18 data identifiers noted in the law, the removal of which could leave data no longer subject to HIPAA restrictions.

3. Start developing your app

As you start developing the app, make sure that you meet various physical and technical standards to ensure data security and reliability. This should apply to all parts of the app. Physical safeguards include cybersecurity measures for the backend, data transfer infrastructure, and even device support for mobile phones. Meanwhile, technical safeguards refer to the technology involved in the development of the app and the transmission and processing of data, including encryption and authentication systems.

From the mobile development, both the backend and frontend segments, and even the database–make sure that all technology stacks going into the project are suitable to the expected demands and requirements of the would-be mobile app.

4. Search for and integrate third-party solutions

Building HIPAA compliance for your mobile app from scratch can set you back financially. Take note that there are existing development solutions and infrastructures that are already optimized for HIPAA compliance. You can check out services such as TrueVault or Amazon Web Services for your data security needs.

5. Test your mobile app

While HIPAA-compliant mobile apps still vary greatly, there are three specific features you can test out and consider before launch:

  • User identification. Asking users for personal information as a login detail is no longer recommended. Try using usernames, passwords, PIN codes, or biometric information as login credentials.

  • Emergency access. While not required, providing users access to your app in the time of a natural emergency where mobile networks and information might not work is an advantage.

Data encryption. Whether stored on the device or on the cloud, data encryption is now a necessity wherever information is transferred and processed. Ensure that an appropriate data encryption scheme is available.

These solutions, collectively known as infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions, are specialized systems that can be used by clients like you as a part of your own app development processes. There are business associate agreements that ensure service quality and reliability

Developing a HIPAA-compliant mobile app is important not only for preventing lawsuits and avoiding fines for your company. More importantly, maintaining the highest levels of cybersecurity and safety for customer data is a surefire way of earning your client’s trust. In turn, customer loyalty from a reliable mobile app is a tested way of thriving and growing your organization

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