We all might have come across the never-ending debate on whether technology is bliss or a curse. Technology has both upsides and downsides, in general. If there is a technology to protect data, then there is a technology that can steal the data. In order to prevent the data from being breached or duplicated, blockchain technology was put into use. This technology employs a decentralized network that restricts anyone from hacking or manipulating the data stored on the system.
This blog will be all about the development of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability App) compliant apps. The concept of HIPAA compliance is to prevent unauthorized access to a patient’s details. So, let us see what the HIPAA law holds for healthcare industries.
What does the HIPAA act imply to healthcare industries?
HIPAA is an act passed in 1996 to infuse regulatory standards on the usage and maintenance of healthcare information of patients. The law states that healthcare professionals or organizations should not share the data of patients, a.k.a protected health information, with outsiders or third-party sources.
Definition of PHI and CHI
PHI (protected health information) – The data that falls under the protected health information includes the name of the patient, email ID, geographic information, biometric identifiers, prescriptions, test results, and other information related to the patient’s health.
Basically, PHI is categorized into two sections, namely personally identifiable data and medical data. When the personally identifiable data is interconnected with medical data, it becomes PHI.
For example, a scan report of an individual along with his/her personally identifiable data like name, gender, address, etc., will come under PHI. On the whole, the HIPAA act is to protect the personally identifiable information stored on any software or third-party server.
CHI (consumer health information) – The consumer health information will help the doctors and individuals to know the condition of the patient’s health. For example, if the inference you get from observing the heartbeat of a patient, the number of calories burnt, the number of steps walked, etc., will fall under the category of consumer health information.
So, that’s the basic definition that lies behind the protected health information and consumer health information.
Entities covered in the HIPAA compliance act
The hospitals or healthcare centers, healthcare insurance providers, and doctors comprise the entities. Any software that connects patients with doctors, then your app must be HIPAA compliant. For example, on-demand doctor apps that let patients interact with doctors houses the information of patient’s health and other personally identifiable information. So, if you are about to develop such type of software, then it must strictly adhere to HIPAA compliant App Development.
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The information of the patients should not be forwarded by any of the entities like hospitals or doctors without the permission of the patients.
None of the billing professionals or prescription professionals can forward the details of the patients.
Patients should be given complete control over accessing their data.
In case any of the above-stated rules are violated, the concerned hospitals or healthcare centers are liable to pay the fine amount.
How to develop an app that adheres to the HIPAA compliance act?
While developing a healthcare app, you must take into account the physical and technical safeguards of the app.
Physical safeguards – Safeguarding an app physically means protecting the infrastructure of the app like the back-end, the medium of data transfer, platforms in which the app is running, etc. Generally, multi-factor authentication helps in achieving a high level of security against data breaches.
Technical safeguards – The concept of technical safeguarding is to encrypt the data that are being transferred in a network or stored on the servers.
Administrative safeguards – Other than the physical and technical safeguards, the administrative safeguards are more of policies and proper training to staff involved in handling the patients’ information.
Let us look in detail at the various security features of each of the above-said categories.
Access control – This feature will allow only authorized users to access the facilities that store the PHI.
Workstation usage and security – Devices that store the PHI must be logged off before leaving the workstation. Additionally, those devices must be integrated with anti-virus software.
User identification – Your app must be integrated with security protocols like PIN or password protection. Each time a patient or a healthcare professional logs in to the app, they must enter the PIN or password for verification.
Accessibility during emergencies – Your software must have the provision for accessing the PHI during emergencies.
End-to-end encryption – All the data regarding the user’s feed on the app must be end-to-end encrypted. Generally, HTTP and SSL protocols are employed for providing encryption. First, the data at the sender’s side is encrypted, and then it is transmitted over the network. Once the data reached the receiver’s side, the data is decrypted. This sweeps away the stealing of data in the middle of the data transfer.
Automatic log-off – Once the session of the server times out, the user must be automatically logged off.
Get your HIPAA-compliant app developed from us!
Appdupe is familiar with providing a range of intuitive app development solutions. Our specialization includes blockchain-based app development and clone app development. If you are interested in developing an online healthcare application that meets the standards of HIPAA, then approach us right away!
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