Understanding HIPAA compliance is a requirement in developing a healthcare app for the U.S. market
When developing a healthcare app, you need to consider data protection. In 1996, the U.S. government enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect the personal information of patients.
In this guide, we’ll discuss who has to follow HIPAA requirements, penalties and components. Also, you can find tips to follow.
What Is HIPAA?
HIPAA is intended to protect the flow of healthcare data and patients’ personal information from fraud and theft. The act has 115 pages with a number of requirements and components.
Who Has to Follow HIPAA Requirements?
HIPAA is obligatory for individuals or companies that manage protected electronic personal health information (ePHI) or electronic health records (EHRs). They can be divided into four main groups:
- Healthcare providers.
- Health insurance companies.
- Healthcare clearinghouses.
- Healthcare business associates.
HIPAA Violation Fines
Before discussing the penalties, let’s look at the reasons for violation fines.
You have to pay a fine for not complying with HIPAA requirements. There are intentional and unintended violations. They are divided into four groups:
- An unintentional HIPAA violation that the healthcare provider wasn’t aware of and has made a proper effort to fix it. The penalty is from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum amount of fines of $1.5 million annually.
- An unintentional HIPAA violation that the healthcare provider couldn’t change. The penalty is from $1,000 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum amount of fines of $1.5 million per year.
- An intentional violation of HIPAA rules and has been fixed within 30 days after identifying the violation. The penalty is from $10,000 to $50,000 per violation with a maximum amount of fines of $1.5 million annually.
- An intentional violation of HIPAA requirements with no attempts to fix the issue for 30 days. The penalty is $50,000 per violation, with a maximum amount of fines of $1.5 million per year.
Main Components of HIPAA
To comply with HIPAA requirements, you have to understand three essential HIPAA rules:
- The Privacy Rule.
- The Security Rule.
- The Breach Notification Rule.
HIPAA Privacy Rule
This rule focuses on protecting PHI (personal health information).
PHI consists of the following information:
- The patient’s past, present or future physical or mental health condition.
- The type of health care provided.
- Information about the payment for the healthcare service provided to the patient.
- Personal data such as name, address, birth date and Social Security number.
HIPAA Security Rule
These requirements cover protection methods that healthcare providers should integrate to protect PHI.
There are the following requirements:
- Ensure the privacy, integrity and accessibility of all ePHI they manage.
- Identify and protect ePHI against threats.
- Guarantee access to ePHI only to the HIPAA-covered individuals.
- Ensure that employees know how to follow compliance rules.
HIPAA Breach Notification Rule
HIPAA mandates that organizations that have been breached inform all affected users, as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the media. Organizations and patients must be notified no later than 60 days from the breach.
How to Comply With HIPAA Requirements
Here are four tips that you need to follow during healthcare app development to comply with HIPAA.
- Information disposal. You need to make sure that every piece of data won’t fall into third-party hands.
- Build trust. Make sure that your partners comply with HIPAA and follow your contract.
- Don’t spread the data. You need to minimize the opportunities to hear the information. Your employees shouldn’t spell patients’ names in the presence of third persons.
- Consider data storage. HIPAA-compliant cloud storage has several advantages over physical drives.
Complying with HIPAA requirements can be complicated. You need to cooperate with professionals to follow the guidelines.