What Are the Requirements for HIPAA Compliance in Software Development?


HIPAA Compliance is the imperative approach when it comes to online software development. It stands for Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA). Any medical professional who is operating an online business must be aware of this rudimentary document. 

The article conveys a brief history of HIPAA, an Overview of HIPAA Compliance, and Tips for the Developers. Any medical practitioner who is planning to operate their business online has to abide by the HIPAA Laws. So why wait for more? Let us get started! 

What is HIPAA Compliance? What is its History?

HIPAA Compliance is the guideline that has to be followed by the medical practitioners in operating telehealth services. Any organization, small or medium-sized medical company has to abide by the laws of the HIPAA system. 

The HIPAA Compliance was started in the year 1966 and it outlined so many rules and regulations. The main aim of the compliance was to deliver security to patient health data in any condition. This act is majorly adopted by the US territory. 

According to this compliance, any organization that fails to deliver healthcare data security has to pay a hefty amount as a penalty to the US government. Therefore, any company that is developing any software or belongs to the medical information has to abide by the HIPAA Procedure. 

A Brief Overview of HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA is a broader term that cannot be explained with a few points. In the US territory, HIPAA is something that has acquired the entire healthcare industry. But to gain an understanding of the main objectives, here are some of the pointers:

1. Gently Privacy:

The first privacy that has been provided is Patient Health Insurance (PHI) as well as clinical history. All the lab reports, medicine details, and payment-oriented information will be kept as secure as possible. But in some cases (where mandatory), EHR access to patient’s information can be shared by taking patient’s prior permission. 

2. Encryption to Patient Data:

The second rule is to safeguard the patient’s electronic data. PHI must be secured and stored with various encryption modules. It can be then used for data transportation over a secure system or channel.   

3. Safeguarding Admin Structure:

This process was initiated to overcome the problem of paperwork and let information clear and easily accessible at a centralized source of communication. Some of the majorly defined compliance are 

  • Transmission of Electronic Data
  • Structured Classification
  • Special Identifiers 
  • Rules and Regulations of Operations, etc. 

How to Maintain HIPAA Compliance in Software Development?

Here is a checklist that should be followed to maintain HIPAA Compliance while software development takes place. 

1. User Authentication

HIPAA Compliance is US government initiated and hence there four measures of identity assurance in software applications. The lowest standards out of the four employ a single-factor authorization. Thus, if a user is free to access all the information at any point in time, then this is the lowest security aspect. Therefore, authorities utilize the higher levels of authentication that add multi-factor authentication to user identity. A user has to verify all his credentials like email address, contact numbers, etc. 

2. Remediation Plan

The remediation plan is a detailed account of the steps attempted by the business owner for enhancing patient data protection. So the document ensures the following moves:

  • A checklist of all the to-do activities for ensuring data security. 
  • There would be a precise identification of each team member’s responsibility 
  • Action plan to fight challenges in near future. 

In this way, to be a HIPAA Compliant software development company, this Remediation Plan is the main document. 

3. Action Plan for Attacks

Emergency mode is something that has everything coined when there comes any cyber or physical attack on patient data. This document ensures methods, activities, and some sort of practices to provide higher security for the patients during an emergency. Therefore this plan follows some of the important parameters like:

  • A checklist of all the teammates along with their work records.
  • A complete list of a digital healthcare system that the organization utilizes.
  • A step-wise procedure of implementing the plan. 

Not only this checklist, the business associate must note down the specific risks and also intimate about the emergencies and action to be taken under this plan. 

4. Authority Monitoring

The team of app developers and owners is advised to keep an eye on the effectiveness and safety of the algorithm access at routine intervals of time. Hence, below are some precautionary measures are the pivotal need when being a HIPAA Compliant Software Development Company:

  • Activity Logs 
  • Audit Reporting & Controls
  • Auto Log-Offs
  • Access-Control in Case of Emergencies

5. Backing Up All Kind of Data

As per this guideline of HIPAA Compliance, all types of electronically protected health information (ePHI) have to be duplicated on another reliable data storage system. This means the company has to create a backup of things like Patient Detail, Record, Images, etc. on regular basis.  Following are some major concern which needs to be followed under this guideline:

  • Redundancy: The data should be stored in two different systems besides the main one. 
  • Encryption: Data encryption provides instant security to the data. The software developer should utilize a 256-bit AES protocol and two-factor verification for max data security.
  • Transfers: when transferring the data to public servers or cloud providers, it should be encrypted with a 256-bit AES protocol. 
  • Monitoring: In an unwanted system failure situation, the system must alert the administration and the concerned team. 

Final Words:

By following the above-given guidance, one can be a HIPAA compliant software development company. These measure have to be taken care of while preparing softwares for any healthcare company. 


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