October 1, 2022

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Requirement for HIPAA Peace of mind in Medical Apps and the way to make sure they are HIPAA Compliant!

A few of the Healthcare apps, eHealth, mHealth apps in america need to adhere to HIPAA that is a group of standards designed to safeguard the sensitive health information of patients. If these rules are violated, the concerned entities may face severe repercussions.

Here’s one particular real-situation scenario of the leading provider of insurance in america, Anthem, Corporation.

In October 2018, Anthem, medical health insurance provider was billed huge penalty for neglecting privacy and security rules set by HIPAA. It began having a small phishing email and then brought to some massive data breach. There is a hostile cyber-attack through the online hackers that could have uncovered the protected health data (PHI) of roughly 79 million patients which further result in the chance of identity theft.

Also, the infuriated patients sued Anthem and won funds of $115 million. In addition, but Anthem was billed through the U.S. Department of Health insurance and Human Services Office for Civil Legal rights (OCR) at $16 million. Had the organization adopted HIPAA compliance, they might have saved millions in addition to their brand image.

If this type of large corporation may go through such devastating attacks and penalties for violating HIPAA rules, smaller sized practices have to be even more careful.

Exactly why is HIPAA Compliance essentialOrEssential?

Today, a large number of health apps and software are used by patients in addition to doctors. A significant quantity of sensitive health insurance and private data constantly flows through them. So, the proprietors of telemedicine apps, hospital physiques while using healthcare apps, healthcare IT services developing healthcare apps have a huge responsibility to safeguard this data. In situation they fail to do this, it can lead to data breaches, healthcare frauds, identity thefts, blackmail, etc. So, the concerned entities must follow HIPAA guidelines. Here are a few key benefits of following them:

•           It fosters an atmosphere of compliance.

•           Helps to teach employees about the proper way to handle sensitive data and exercise strict security controls.

•           Enables to proactively ensure that electronic PHI has been utilized, transmitted, stored, or shared appropriately and safely.

•           Simplifies administrative healthcare functions while increasing the efficiency from the entity.

•           Helps within the transition from paper documents towards the digitalization of health records or any other forms while reducing manual errors.

•           Helps to achieve patients’ trust that also improves brand status.

•           Provides an aggressive edge.

•           Helps organizations to prevent expenses for add-on safety measures.

•           Facilitates enhanced operational efficiency in healthcare practices.

What sort of Health Data falls under HIPAA Compliance?

Any medical application involves crucial medical data. HIPAA’s primary focus is on securing this data i.e. PHI. PHI is categorized majorly in 2 parts- health records/data and private data. As reported by the Department of Health insurance and Human Services, PHI’s private data includes 18 classes namely:

1.patient names

2.geographical data including condition, city, country, exact address, pin code, etc.

3.dates similar to their admission dates, discharge dates, birth or dying dates, etc.

4.contact figures

5.fax figures


7.permanent medical record figures

8.social security figures

9.health plan beneficiary figures and names

10.account figures along with other credentials

11.certificate/license figures

12.vehicle identifiers and serial figures

13.device identifiers and serial figures

14.IP addresses

15.web URLs

16.biometric identifiers like fingerprints and voice prints

17.photos or pictures of faces and then any comparable images

18.Every other unique identifying figures, codes, or characteristics.

What Entities are covered underneath the HIPAA Privacy Rule?

The below-pointed out individuals and organizations prepared to develop healthcare apps must stick to HIPAA-compliant structure and it is guidelines.

Healthcare Providers: Any healthcare company, small or big, that needs electronic processing or transmission of medical data for several transactions like demands for authorization, claims, queries for eligibility, along with other such transactions comes under this category. Included in this are hospitals, or individual practitioners like doctors, dentists, psychologists, etc.

Health Plans: These include entities that pay the price of healthcare expenses, for example, insurance firms, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), employer-backed group health plans, multi-employer health plans, government- or church-backed health plans, etc.

Healthcare Clearinghouses: Fundamental essentials entities that behave as middlemen between your healthcare providers and insurance providers. These process nonstandard data they receive from the healthcare organization right into a standard format or the other way around.

Work Associates: The entities that store, collect, process, or transmit PHI with respect to all of the aforesaid covered entities.

Steps to make your Medical Application HIPAA Compliant?

Any entity that wishes to construct a HIPAA compliant medical application or software should do the next:

•           Ensure the integrity, privacy, confidentiality, and accessibility to all ePHI i.e. electronic protected health information.

•           Detect probable threats and safeguard the data out of all ways possible.

•           Protect against probable impermissible disclosures or accesses

•           Certify compliance through the staff

Also, this is a listing of safety measures to become taken for safeguarding and controlling use of health data inside a medical application.

Limit Access of information: Limit the use of sensitive data by supplying a distinctive ID to concerned government bodies as well as the patients. This can help in tracking the game being transported in the applying.

Entity Authentication: Verify the individualOrorganization attempting to connect to the data by using passwords, biometrics, PHI PINs, token, digital signatures, etc. The application must provide access simply to authenticated users.

File encryption from the data: Be sure that the PHI data in healthcare apps is encrypted before storing it around the servers and databases. Use tools like BitLocker, File Vault, etc for encrypting the information. File encryption greatly ensures data integrity by protecting it from online hackers. Without understanding keys, the online hackers would certainly keep battling around with no results.

Using Guaranteed protocols: The information transmitted over systems and between your tiers of the system, ought to be channeled through HTTPS protocol that encrypts data using SSL and TLS. If PHI data needs to be sent through email, then HIPAA compliant email services ought to be used.

Ensure Data Backup: Backup of PHI is essential. It should be kept in various locations to ensure that in situation of the system crash or database corruption or perhaps a fire inside a data center, the information remains intact.

Discard PHI data after use: Any sensitive data ought to be permanently destroyed otherwise needed any longer. In situation it remains inside your systems, scanners, biomedical equipment, memory cards, network cards, etc., it’s susceptible to threats.

Automatic Logging-off: In situation of inactivity, the application getting PHI should terminate the session instantly. You will have to log-in again by re-entering the password.

Monitoring and Auditing of information: Monitoring and auditing from the data in healthcare apps should be conducted regularly. Whenever a user logs in or out, the facts should be recorded. The information could be monitored via hardware, software, or any other procedures. Activity on PHI data could be recorded utilizing a log file or log table within the database.

Extra Mobile Application Security: The safety measures in mobile phone applications like screen-lock, remote data erasing, full-device file encryption, etc. should be recommended towards the people that use the application to boost the safety from the data. These can’t have no choice but around the users though.

Final Verdict:

Unauthorized access of PHI data from healthcare apps can result in huge fines that will set you back a lot of money but HIPAA compliance can help you save from all of these penalties. HIPAA security will ensure the auditors you have done enough to safeguard medical data from phishing, social engineering, breaches, etc. Though sticking to HIPPA appears cumbersome, yet they guarantee future-proof apps, guaranteed software programs, infrastructures for any booming healthcare market.

Has this web site gave you the needed insights about HIPAA rules and HIPAA compliant apps? Please tell us using your comments.