5 Rules You Need to Know About HIPAA Compliance for Web Apps

Matt Beltz
Sharing data hipaa

Keeping medical data safe and secure is more crucial than ever these days, and this is why HIPAA compliance continues to become more stringent. Things continue to go digital and smartphone technology is used for almost everything (payment, sharing data, etc.), so it’s no surprise that both web and mobile apps are prime targets for hackers. The reason HIPAA was created involves enforcing data protection and health data privacy, risk-free healthcare data transmission between eligible parties, and notifications of any breaches in security.

When it comes to web applications that exchange, store, share and/or manage PHI (personal health information), the following HIPAA compliance rules are absolutely vital. Violating these rules have steep consequences, penalties and fines.

If you’re in the process of or planning to develop a web application that needs to be HIPAA compliant, here are 5 rules you need to know.

Hipaa rules for apps

The Privacy Rule

The Privacy Rule was created to protect individuals’ PHI and other medical records that are held by “covered entities”. Examples of these entities include health insurers, employer-sponsored health plans, and numerous types of medical service providers. Basically, this rule limits what can be done with medical information without patient authorization. It also allows patients to obtain copies of their medical records and request revisions to them if there are any mistakes.

The Security Rule

The Security Rule is actually a subset of The Privacy Rule, but specifically deals with electronic medical records and information. This rule ensures any electronic health information is secure and confidential through three types of safeguards: Administrative, Physical, and Technical.

The Enforcement Rule

The Enforcement Rule basically gives the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, or HHS, the right to hold businesses or organizations that violate HIPAA standards accountable through hefty fines and even imprisonment.

The Breach Notification Rule

The Breach Notification Rule states that if any PHI is given or accessed by someone without permission, the patients affected need to be notified of what happened as soon as possible. If the breach impacted more than 500 individuals, media outlets serving the state must be notified of the breach.

The Omnibus Rule

The Omnibus Rule basically requires that organizations revise their agreements and policies when updates are made to HIPAA to ensure their policies continue to follow HIPAA rules.

Building and designing applications around HIPAA standards can be complicated, especially when health data is being stored or shared. Developers need to understand the latest HIPAA standards and how to follow them when they’re designing and coding. If you are currently in the process of searching for a specialized healthcare developer, please reach out to our team.

This post was last updated on: Jul 05, 2022.