5 Must-Know Facts About Creating HIPAA-Compliant Apps
September 29, 2022
Architecting healthcare applications is a complex process and handling the technical side of things can be challenging. At Blaze, we’re an expert in helping healthcare organizations build HIPAA-compliant web applications and tools.
In this article, we'll cover how to build HIPAA-compliant web apps so that you can create patient portals, data management tools, clinic onboarding sites, and more while staying in compliance with privacy regulations.
#1: First, what is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that requires all healthcare organizations to maintain the privacy and security of patient health information. Any web application that deals with protected health information (PHI) must be HIPAA-compliant in order to ensure patient privacy.
There are many different types of web applications that can be used in a healthcare setting, such as patient portals, data management tools, health questionnaires, and more. Each of these applications must meet certain requirements in order to be considered HIPAA-compliant.
Some of the key requirements for HIPAA-compliant web applications include:
ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of PHI
protecting against unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of PHI
providing patients with access to their own PHI
maintaining a secure system infrastructure
By meeting these requirements, your organizations can ensure that your web applications are compliant with HIPAA and protect the privacy of their patients.
#2:What is PHI?
The textbook definition of protected health information (PHI) is information that “Relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual; the provision of health care to an individual; or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual” that is
Transmitted by electronic media
Maintained in electronic media
Transmitted or maintained in any other form or medium
What kind of information that does include? All individually identifiable health information, including demographic data, medical histories, test results, insurance information, and other information used to identify a patient or provide healthcare services or healthcare coverage.
#3: How to make apps and tools compliant with HIPAA
Blaze’s platform helps you build your healthcare app while staying HIPAA compliant. Here’s what our platform automatically does for you to meet regulatory requirements:
all protected health information PHI must be encrypted in transit. This means that any time PHI is transmitted electronically, it must be encrypted using a method that meets or exceeds the standards set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
PHI must be stored securely. This means that your app or software must have physical, administrative, and technical safeguards in place to protect PHI from unauthorized
access, use, or disclosure. These safeguards must meet or exceed the standards set forth in the HIPAA Security Rule.
You need to have a way to track who accesses the data. This is important so that you can ensure that only authorized individuals are able to view or modify the information.
You need to have a mechanism in place so that users can only access the data they're supposed to have access to. This might include restricting certain features of the app based on user roles.
You must have a process in place for handling HIPAA-related complaints and inquiries. This process should be well documented and easily accessible to users of your app or software.
Using Blaze, we help you fulfill these major requirements.
#4: Healthcare apps that need HIPAA compliance
If you're developing a healthcare app that deals with patient data, then you need to make sure it's HIPAA compliant. This includes apps that are used for patient portals, data management, and more.
There are two categories of HIPAA Privacy Rule compliant entities:
Covered Entities. These include health plans (such as health insurance companies, HMOs, company health plans, government programs paying for health care and the military and veterans health care programs), health care clearinghouses (entities that process nonstandard health information received from other entities), healthcare providers (doctors, clinics, psychologists, dentists, chiropractors, nursing homes, and pharmacies) who transmit any electronic information about a transaction for which the Department of Health and Human Services HHS has adopted a standard.
Business Associate. This is any person or entity that performs certain functions or activities involving the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of or providing services to, a covered entity.
#5: Healthcare apps you can build with Blaze
If building a HIPAA-compliant app sounds daunting, you're not alone. That's why we built Blaze. Blaze enables you to build HIPAA compliant apps easily and securely. We can help your team design and implement your app fully. Here are examples of apps that have been built on our platform and that you can build too:
Patient portals: Patient portals that give patients 24/7 access to their health information and allow them to book appointments, view test results, and message their care team.
Data management tools: Data management tools that help healthcare organizations track and manage patient data more effectively. They can be used to generate reports, monitor trends, and identify areas for improvement.
Care team collaboration tools: Care team collaboration tools can help care teams communicate and coordinate more effectively. They can be used to share patient information, track tasks, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Onboarding sites: Electronically onboard clinics, patients, and vendors and securely store their information.
If you’re ready to create your healthcare app or would like to see Blaze in action, you can request a demo here.