HIPAA Compliance and Your Mobile App: What You Need to Know

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, commonly called HIPAA, is a chain of regulatory standards that outline the lawful use and disclosure of blanketed fitness information (PHI). HIPAA compliance is regulated through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and enforced through the manner of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  This law, in the end, impacts the way information is stored and shared over technology, including cell apps. Therefore, earlier than embarking on a mobile app venture that involves storing or sharing health information, you want to apprehend what way it relates to HIPAA compliance and mobile app.

When it comes to data HIPAA compliance and mobile app, there are masses of complexities, mostly because of the anomaly around what exactly is considered PHI (covered health statistics). It’s also not so cut-and-dry in phrases of what apps want to be compliant or now not.

HIPAA compliance and mobile app developers

As I stated earlier I want to focus on the complete on technological protections as they exercise to mobile builders, whether they’re developing for a covered entity or a BA. I’ve created a five-item checklist to guide developers as they construct a mobile app that could fall in-scope for HIPAA. The nuances of HIPAA can get tricky, so make certain you seek advice from an expert. Taking these items below consideration will in no way assure compliance.

HIPAA Compliance and mobile app

Understand your role and responsibility

  • The safety necessities for a healthcare app ought to be defined and structure reviewed with the useful resource of a qualified protection specialist. Regular app developers should not be expected to be HIPAA or protection experts.
  • If you’re the product owner, take time to think about your use case for the app. Considering what information will be handled and saved and where especially it will probably be stored is prime if whilst you are handling PHI.

Alleviate exposure or risks

  • Prevent the app from storing statistics that could be in any other case irrelevant. E.G.: if the service you provide does not require the patients’ residential address, you would probably as well no longer ask for it.
  • Specify a written Privacy coverage for the mHealth mobile application.
  • One of the simplest (however unheeded) factors of strengthening your PHI safety is to not store information at all. Avoiding caching PHI spells extra potent protection solutions
  • Before choosing cloud storage, make sure that the mode of transmission and whether or now not its garage on a cloud deployment is secure and secure. Having a Business Associate Agreement with third-party providers permits too.

Store and transmit data securely

Here is another category in which encryption is a massive factor. This wants to be obvious, right? Unfortunately, Now Secure CTO David Weinstein positioned that 80 percentage of the 200 most popular, unfastened iOS apps determine out of App Transport Security (ATS) — a characteristic that forces cell apps to hook up with back-surrender servers using HTTPS, instead of HTTP, to encrypt statistics in transit.

  • Given the tools and protocols available these days there is no excuse any longer to enforce them. As referred to in advance, facts need to be encrypted at the same time as saved and when transmitted. This also ensures that the statistics are verified – another critical compliance item – constantly.
  • Mobile gadgets use some of the different protocols for sending information. Are you sending textual content notifications? SMS and MMS are not encrypted, so make certain they don’t comprise PHI.

Secure your healthcare mobile application

  • To enhance safety, mHealth apps ought to characteristic consultation timeout in case of prolonged idle time. This facilitates it to automatically sign off after a specified period of inactivity.
  • Push notifications are usually stated as weak hyperlinks to an application. As a HIPAA compliance and mobile app developer, you need to make sure that the ePHI isn’t always sent via push notifications.
  • Vigilance is of top importance as information leaks can arise anytime. Covering loose ends like backups and log files is a should. Even memory playing cards in Android phones aren’t secured and thus may be susceptible to hacks.

Validate your protection

The first-rate real surefire way to evaluate the safety of a mobile app is through dynamic and static application protection testing. The technology exists that let you do a number of this yourself, but if you’re not an expert, you should do not forget hiring a third party to carry out a penetration check of the app

What is needed for HIPAA compliance?

Need for HIPAA compliance


HIPAA requires protected entities and commercial organization pals to behavior annual audits of their organization to assess Administrative, Technical, and Physical gaps in compliance with HIPAA Privacy and Security standards.

Remediation plans

Once protected entities and commercial organization friends have diagnosed their gaps in compliance thru the ones self-audits, they ought to implement remediation plans to opposite compliance violations.

Policies, procedures, employee training 

Annual body of workers training on those Policies and Procedures is needed, at the facet of documented worker attestation stating that staff has studied and understood every of the organization’s rules and procedures.


HIPAA-beholden groups ought to report ALL efforts they take to come to be HIPAA compliant. This documentation is vital throughout a HIPAA investigation with HHS OCR to bypass strict HIPAA audits.

Business associate management 

Covered entities and business buddies alike want to document all agencies with whom they proportion PHI in any way and execute Business Associate Agreements to make sure PHI is treated securely and mitigate liability. BAAs must be reviewed yearly to account for changes to the individual of organizational relationships with organizations.

Incident management  

If a covered entity or organization associate has a facts breach, they have to have a process to record the breach and notify patients that their statistics have been compromised following the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule.


I hope may this blog will give you clear-cut knowledge about HIPAA compliance and mobile app.