One of the most common challenges we have experienced when developing mHealth apps for our clients is implementing administrative, physical and technical safeguards without compromising patient accessibility. While complying with HIPAA guidelines is a must, additional security can sometimes lead to user frustration. In this blog, we want to share some quick tips for data and mobile security practices, along with some methods for protecting the user experience that your UX/UI team has worked so hard to design.
When developing an mHealth app, it is crucial that you understand which types of information fall under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and implement the necessary security measures. This blog will not feature a summary of HIPAA terms or regulations, so for those who are unfamiliar with HIPAA or need a refresher, here’s a link to the HIPAA Journal website.
The popularity of mHealth apps is increasing, but that does not guarantee that your patients will begin using yours right away. While adhering to HIPAA regulations is critical, it is also important to remember that your mHealth app must improve the patient experience or they simply will not adopt it as part of their patient journey. In our experience working on mHealth apps, physical security safeguards like two-factor authentication and session timeout are typically what cause the most frustration amongst users. We believe this occurs because of a lack of explanation. Take into consideration the target audience of your application – most are probably unfamiliar with HIPAA in the first place and uninformed on the rationale behind certain security features. Additionally, a large majority of your users may be older and less technologically savvy. In past projects, we have encouraged our clients to prepare for these challenges by including brief instructional overlays and onboarding pages into the user interface.
Designing and developing a successful mHealth app can be extremely difficult due to the stringent regulations placed on the healthcare industry; however, the dividends can make it more than worthwhile as an increasing percentage of the population begins to leverage their mobile smart devices in new ways. Developing custom software applications can be a large investment, so don’t let security shortcomings undermine your project. Find a development partner with experience building HIPAA-compliant apps, and take extra time to determine which safeguards are necessary to both protect patient information and improve the overall patient experience. If you have any questions or are interested in speaking with a custom software and application developer today, CLICK HERE to schedule a quick 30-min meeting to discuss your project.