For any software developing company or a startup healthcare industry is one of the most rewarding sectors. Software and mobile & web applications can cater to a wide range of customers that solves various problems. However, when you want to dabble in the field of healthcare with developing software, you have to follow the HIPAA guidelines. Any healthcare software that fails to comply with the 1996 HIPAA guideline will not see the light of the day and even if it does will eventually be in trouble. So, while you consider developing HIPAA compliant software and adhering to the rules, you also have to remember the average cost of HIPAA compliant software is different and a bit higher than other industry software.
Why Is HIPAA Compliant Software Important?
HIPAA is the acronym for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and it covers several features in the healthcare industry. While it ensures that the digital technology warrants the safety of the data and other medical records, it also regulates the actions pertaining to staff, hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, stakeholders, and any other third party that is associated with providing any service to the healthcare sector.
Since it includes digital technology, it hence encompasses the cybersecurity feature of the software. However, suppose an organization using software fails to provide the necessary security to the data, and there is a breach of it. In that case, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can issue a stiff penalty.
HIPAA penalties can fall into two categories, civil and criminal. A violation of the civil rules can amount to a fine worth $1.5 million, and in case of a criminal penalty, one can be imprisoned for a maximum of 10 years.
Now, it has become apparent that failure to adhere to HIPAA regulations will damage one’s reputation and other losses. Hence if you are thinking of developing a healthcare app or software, remember to comply with the HIPAA regulations. We know it can be challenging because you need to take care of quite a few factors. Hence we have developed a HIPAA complaint basic rule for developing the software for you along with the average cost of HIPAA compliant software.
Basic HIPAA Compliant Software Development Rules
The main focus of HIPAA is to warrant the protection of PHI or the Protected Health Information. PHI encompasses the personal details of the patients, their contact information, medical records, and other associated necessary information. Anyone who is covered under the HIPAA has the authorization to access the PHI. With the advent of technology, PHI has become digital information instead of paper. Cloud or server-based storage solution is now used for PHI, which means this information runs the risk of being attacked by malware and can be breached.
In most cases, the data breaches result in records being stolen, financial losses, and hackers selling sensitive information in the black market for the money. There is also the chance of classified data being modified, which can lead to severe damages for the hospital and even mislead a patient’s diagnosis when medical records are tampered with.
HIPAA has defined five rules that any healthcare software needs to abide by in the face of all these risks.
- The Privacy Rule
This rule is in relation to PHI protection that defines the information that any third party cannot access. Along with it, the rule also allows exceptions of those entities covered by HIPAA to be able to access the record of a patient with the latter’s authorization. The privacy law also warrants the patient’s rights where they can view their medical records and even request corrections in case of an error. The rule also outlines the limitation of the patient in accessing the records.
- The Security Rule
Any developer of a software application needs to take this rule seriously and abide by it. In addition, the service provider of the software is required to warrant periodic risk analysis of any possible data breach and also recommend and rectify any concern regarding information security.
- The Enforcement Rule
In case of a data breach, this rule gives the authority for investigation and charges the party with the penalties. Depending on the number of breaches, frequency, and the number of medical records that become unprotected, the penalties are determined.
- The Notification Rule
Under this rule, it becomes mandatory for the software service provider to notify individuals if there is a data breach case. If the number exceeds 500, then the service provider is to notify the media about the breach, and if it is less than 500, then to every individual whose data got violated within sixty days. The service provider also has to notify the Office For Civil Rights of the US HHS breach.
- The Omnibus Rule
The rule, though added in 2013 while including all the ones mentioned above, also emphasizes the businesses associates, when dealing with PHI, have to meet the terms set by HIPAA rules.
When developing a healthcare software application knowing these rules will help you in navigating the HIPPA-compliance. It will also help you decide the right HIPAA developer because a reputed developer would be aware of all these rules and help you get an app that will abide by the HIPAA rules.
HIPAA compliance apps are expensive, and the cost is based on the size of the application, features you intend to offer, the healthcare field you are catering to, and where you are developing it. The geographic location of the developer or the developing company will influence the average cost of HIPAA-compliant software.
When you know these rules, the chance of losing out money by developing an application that doesn’t adhere to them is lessened. The last thing you want as a business owner is to lose out on money on an app that is not functional or negated by the authorities. Also, get a reputed third-party developer to help you in developing the software application, which is a HIPAA compliant one. Hope this article will help the readers to choose a software developing company or a startup healthcare industry.