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HIPAA Compliant App Development: A Beginner’s Guide

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | Last Updated on February 28th, 2024 2:27 pm | 4-min read
HIPAA Compliant - Appy Pie

A business needs an app to compete and succeed in the current market. This concept remains true for most customer-facing industries. Today we’re going to talk about the healthcare industry and its apps. Healthcare apps can actually save lives. They can act as emergency alert apps or as general purpose apps. With people getting more and more health-conscious each day, the importance of health apps keeps rising.

However, the healthcare industry in the USA faces an additional challenge – HIPAA. With this blog, we aim to explain HIPAA compliance for apps in a simple way. Once you read through, you will have learnt the following:

Without further ado, let’s just jump into it right away.

What is HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountancy Act was an act passed by the US government in 1996. The act controls various aspects of healthcare coverage. It protects workers and provides them with the health insurance coverage if they lose jobs or fall sick. It also establishes the national standards for healthcare-related transactions both online and offline. It also does a few other things, however, for a mobile app developer knowing these two aspects are the most important.

HIPAA has consistently been updating and evolving to match up to the requirements of modern businesses. Apart from the normal guidelines that every insurance institution needs to follow, HIPAA has been extended to mobile healthcare apps too. For a healthcare app to be allowed to be distributed in the USA, it must meet the guidelines and laws set under the HIPAA act. An app that is able to follow these rules can officially be termed as HIPAA compliant.

Why is HIPAA Compliance Necessary for Healthcare Apps?

Healthcare apps that are not HIPAA compliant pose severe security risks and privacy concerns. A person’s personal health information can be massively misused and there are several cases of it occurring regularly. The infographic covers various statistics related to HIPAA violations.

Healthcare app - Appy Pie

To prevent this from happening, apps need to comply with HIPAA since mobiles and smartphones can pose serious security risks if they get into.

Basics of HIPAA Compliant App Development

HIPAA is a vast legal document. It can take months to figure out the rules that apply to apps. Even after you figure out various aspects of it, HIPAA compliant app development can be an expensive affair. However, if you do wish to make your HIPAA Compliant, here’s a look at the basics of HIPAA.

For your app to be HIPAA Compliant, you need to protect a user’s PHI. PHI or Protected Health Information includes any information about health care, health care provisions or monetary transactions with healthcare entities (hospital bill, insurance, etc). This information is granted federal protection under US law and violators can be sued.

What Kind of Apps Need to Comply with HIPAA?

The following types of apps need to comply with HIPAA:

  • Health Insurance Apps
  • Hospital and Clinics Apps
  • Health Report Apps
  • Medical Insurance Apps
  • Medical Loan Businesses
  • Health Information Databases
  • Billing Software for Doctors
  • And any other business entity that may collect your health information

Developing such an app requires you to handle user data with extreme care and needs you to have a proper security and encryption on your apps. Your app must be tested regularly for security breaches and must be tested by the government. Apart from that, you must include various technical, administrative, physical, and documentation safeguards.

Your app also needs to ensure that it has a cloud database server and no data of any sort stored on physical devices of users and app administrators. Using TLS is also advised to protect the server-device communication in public networks. You also need official certification from HIPAA to launch your app on stores.

All this may sound easy but can cost a lot more than what you would expect. With the speed that technology evolves at, you will need to keep updating each feature and each iteration to still be HIPAA compliant. On average, building a HIPAA compliant app can be as expensive as 120,000 $ to create. Maintaining that app can cost as much as 50,000$ a year. So how do you go about building a HIPAA app?

How to build a HIPAA Compliant App

Since creating your own HIPAA app from scratch is an expensive affair, there are two choices for HIPAA-Compliant businesses. One option is to pay a healthcare or health insurance mobile app development company to create their app from scratch for them for a much cheaper rate and also pay comparatively less to maintain the app. The second option is to make your HIPAA app with Appy Pie AppMakr.

Appy Pie AppMakr is a no-code app development platform that lets users create their own apps within a few clicks. With Appy Pie, small and big healthcare businesses can create HIPAA compliant apps. Appy Pie makes it possible to create HIPAA apps from scratch because Appy Pie is a HIPAA approved organization. Any and every healthcare app that can be made with Appy Pie is compliant with all the guidelines and rules of HIPAA. Appy Pie AppMakr can even let you take user data through HIPAA forms.

Finding the right talent for HIPAA compliant app development can be challenging. Collaborating with a healthtech recruitment agency can streamline the hiring process, ensuring that businesses get experts who are well-versed in HIPAA guidelines.

Check out Appy Pie AppMakr’s HIPAA App Maker and build your HIPAA compliant mobile app today!

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The rules for HIPAA compliance for apps are ever changing and evolving. We have made this blog keeping in minds the rules set in August 2020. If you ever find that this blog is outdated, please let us know in the comments. We’ll update it immediately.

There are a lot of small healthcare businesses that still do not understand HIPAA compliance for apps. We wish to create a detailed resource for all of them. If you feel that this blog has missed crucial information about HIPAA compliance, let us know that too! Have a great day and don’t forget to wear a mask!

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Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie

App Builder

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