HIPAA Compliant App Development- A Complete Guide

HIPAA requirements

There are plenty of guides and resources on HIPAA compliant app development. But the problem of organizing the whole development procedure in such a way that it follows all terms and conditions is still challenging. That is why we have decided to create an in-detail guide about HIPAA-compliant app development and anything related to it.







Importance of HIPPA Compliance in Healthcare


The significance of following HIPAA secure apps for hospitals lies in understanding what would happen if they are not followed. In case of not following the app, hospitals are responsible for paying massive fines. The person’s data breach case can amount to $100 to $40,000 in fines.

There are various examples of how costly it gets for hospitals when they breach HIPAA compliance – on both image and financial grounds.

Making an app HIPPA compliant can sometimes pose a challenge for healthcare app developers, mainly because it asks for many modifications on both design and the features front.

Our experience of having developed many apps has helped us develop a HIPAA compliance checklist for software development.

Making a HIPAA compliant app needs to follow four primary rules:

  • Privacy
  • Breach
  • Enforcement
  • Security

As a HIPAA compliant app developer, we focus on all four rules. Healthcare app development companies’ primary workaround when answering how to build HIPAA compliant software is the HIPAA security and privacy rules. They majorly comprise physical and technical safeguards.



What Are the Steps for an App To Become HIPPA Compliant?


Following are the steps that a HIPAA compliant app development company can use for an app to become HIPPA Compliant:


1. Transport Encryption

HIPAA software needs to keep the health data encrypted in transmissions. The first step that you need to follow to get that is using HTTP protocols and SSL.

For client-server data transfer, when the data has to be transferred in the body of the post requests, you should encrypt them on the sender’s front and then decrypt them on the receiver’s side. It helps to stop the man-in-the-middle attacks. Besides, we transfer and store passwords in hash values to secure the compromising of data.


2. Backup

The hosting provider offers recovery and backup services, and it makes sure that the data is not lost in case of an emergency or accident. For instance, if the web software may send the data elsewhere, the messages get backed up and accessible to the authorized staff. For HIPAA-compliant app development, this step is essential.


3. Authorization

The team of health app experts upgrades the medical app in a way that will protect the authorization. One way is to secure the logins and audit the access control, ensuring the data can only be seen by the authorized staff.


4. Integrity

When building an app that follows HIPAA compliance, it is significant that infrastructure is set up to make sure that the storage, collection, and transfer of information is safe and cannot be changed in any way, whether intentionally or by mistake.

The first step in HIPAA secure apps is to ensure the system can detect and report unauthorized data tampering, even when the minor information is altered. Measures like regular backup, encryption, access authorization, and adequately defined users’ roles besides the restriction of physical access to infrastructure become necessary elements when making HIPAA apps.


5. Storage Encryption

The rule of facing PHI is that it must only be available to authorized staff. We cover all the information stored in the software system –databases, backups, and logs – in this rule. The professionals apply industry-backed encryption with the RSA and AES algorithms to help along with strong keys. We even use an encrypted database such as SQLCipher for saving the data on the backend safely.


6. Disposal

Significantly, the archived or backup data that have expired would be disposed of completely. We take steps to dispose of all the unused data in a non-retrievable and safe manner. For HIPAA-compliant app developers, this is also a significant step.



Tips To Make App Development HIPAA Compliant


To make an app HIPPA compliant, you should follow these tips;

  • A HIPAA or security expert should define the security needs for your healthcare app and review the app architecture.
  • Your role should be clear and comprehensive.
  • Minimize the use and sharing of PHI needed to accomplish the intended task – do not display, access, or store data that is not important.
  • Utilize a clear and effective privacy policy.
  • Risk and exposure should be reduced.
  • Avoid storing or caching PHI whenever possible.
  • When utilizing cloud storage, offer safe PHI data transmission and storage; for example, cloud storage also must be HIPAA compliant.
  • Secure data transmission and storage are also essential.
  • Under HIPAA, an agreement should be signed with any third-party providers.



What Does ‘HIPAA Compliant App’ Mean for Developers?


For HIPAA-compliant app development, we should know its significance as developers. Not all health-associated apps available in the market are HIPAA compliant. When you deal with health app development with HIPAA needs, you can store, collect and transmit PHI.

The procedure to check if your app is HIPAA compliant is as follows:

  • The app detail type (the information that is produced, stored, or shared)
  • The app user (entity) type
  • The app software type (encryption type)


Sunvera Software develops next-level software applications from start-to-finish. Schedule a free 30-minute call with us to discuss your business, or you can give us a call at (949) 284-6300.