How To Become HIPAA Compliant – 6 Proven Tips

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HIPAA Compliant

Many companies and entrepreneurs are moving into the healthcare sector, intending to provide better services to the sector. However, all these developers and companies have to remember that the average price of a HIPAA compliant app is more than an app developed for other industries. The simple reason is healthcare industry apps have to be HIPAA compliant and deal with sensitive data. 

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So, like any other industry, the healthcare sector has become heavily reliant on digital platforms, software applications, and other internet and cloud-based technology to offer better services. Unfortunately, while the sector has been reaping the benefits of these technological advancements, there have also been recorded data breaches in the last decade. According to research already, there have been 2,550 plus beaches of information from the sector, and it was estimated that by the end of 2020, the breaches would cost about $6 trillion. But thanks to HIPAA and the rules for developing a HIPAA compliant application, the healthcare industry is not one of the topmost industries that suffer from security breaches. 

These figures become important in understanding the significance of abiding by the HIPAA rules, so there are no data and security breaches. 

If you want to know what causes the data breaches in healthcare industry apps and software, it can be viewed on several factors like:

  • Hacking of the app 
  • Stealing of the data 
  • Failure to dispose of old data properly 
  • People getting unauthorized access to the data 
  • Third-party failing to comply with the privacy policies and disclosing the data to unauthorized people 

Hence you might have the question of what can be done to warrant the safety of the data. The answer is to become a HIPAA complaint when developing software. 

How To Ensure You Are HIPAA Compliant? 

There are several ways to ensure that you are HIPAA compliant when developing software for the healthcare sector. You can either do a HIPAA complaint search or keep reading the next six steps and follow them to become HIPAA compliant. 

1. Self-Audit 

If you want to be HIPAA compliant and keep your software out of issues where it breaches the HIPAA rules, conducting a self-audit is the best way. Any business involved in providing service to the healthcare sector needs to undergo regular HIPAA compliance checks. When you conduct a self-audit, you can develop an analysis that will provide in-depth knowledge of the service and software. Hence, any custom software developed for the healthcare industry must provide a compliance report regularly that is comprehensive. 

2. Developing A Remedy 

When you get a detailed report of the software application regularly as part of your self-audit, you will know about any vulnerabilities that the product/ service has. Any software should be developed with the scope to thwart any vulnerabilities it has when identified after the self-audit. Developing and implementing a ‘redemption plan’ in the software is vital to stay HIPAA compliant. 

3. Hire A HIPAA Complaint Officer 

Part of HIPAA compliance is also that you need to hire a HIPAA compliance Privacy and Security Officer as the service provider to ensure all the procedures and strategies are in place. When developing the custom software, it should also include training programs for the employees working with the software to ensure they can identify any cyber threats. In addition, it will help in preventing data breaches and enhance PHI security. 

4. Managing The Documentation Securely 

Custom software should be developed to provide a safe, robust, and structured documentation and storage management system. The easy-to-use and store of documents and data would allow the users to be ready for any audit conducted by HIPAA while ensuring they do not breach the rules and guidelines formed by the Act. In addition, the practice of developing reliable data storage management showcases the HIPAA compliance practice that the developers and providers have to adhere to for the safety of the industry. 

5. The Agreement 

While there are several requirements for HIPAA compliance and failure to adhere to them will make the service provider liable to penalties. Part of the requirement is to adhere to rules like

  • Privacy Rule 
  • Security Rule 
  • Enforcement Rule 
  • Breach Notification Rule 
  • Omnibus Rule

Out of these, the last rule ensures that any caregiver who is hired for handling any ePHI should sign the Business Associate Agreement (BAA). Hence, the software developed for the industry must have the scope for signing, managing, and changing the BAA. 

6. Incident Management 

Any data breach, mainly associated with PHI, is quite challenging and can be of immense risk for the patient and the caregiver. It can also lead to serious financial losses; hence the software should have the scope for handling incident management. It should be equipped to record any incidents, analyze them automatically, and report the OCR as soon as the breach occurs. The software should also be designed to identify the reason why the breach could not be detected and stop it from happening again. 

Once you have ensured that your software is equipped with these, you can go to the next step of having the checklist for the features your HIPAA compliant app should have. But remember, you should not compromise on HIPAA compliance because the average price of HIPAA compliant app development cost is going higher. Even removing any of these steps would mean your software will be rejected by the industry, or you might eventually get into serious trouble with HIPAA because you failed to comply with their rules. 

Final Words 

Since HIPAA compliant software is customized and unique from any other industry software, the average price of a HIPAA compliant app is anything but cheap. Hence, it is best to get the service of an experienced and professional HIPAA-compliant software app developer than finding any random developer to do the job for you. The last thing you want is to spend money on developing a healthcare app that will not give you the ROI, so it is best to hire a professional and reputed HIPAA-compliant software developing company. 

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