Best Practices to Ensure Healthcare Mobile App Security

November 28, 2017
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Currently, there are nearly 47,502 healthcare iOS apps and 42,703 healthcare android apps available in the market, and the numbers are rising with each passing day. On seeing these figures, there’s no exaggeration in saying that Healthcare mobile app development is the fastest growing industry in the market. mHealth apps have, undoubtedly, set the beginning of a new era in the healthcare industry making the medical services no longer restricted to the four sterile walls of clinics and hospitals. However, with the widespread facilities offered by the healthcare mobile apps, various challenges have also come into consideration. One of the most prominent challenges faced is Healthcare mobile app security.

Healthcare Mobile App Security: A Challenge

According to a report published by Protenus, 233 breach incidents were reported to the Department of Health and Human Service. Around 3.1 million patients records affected in 2017. Cybersecurity insurer, Beazley Group, also noted that there’s rise by 133% in ransomware attacks in case of its healthcare clients compared to the first half of 2016. All such statistics have made users skeptical about sharing their sensitive personal details on the healthcare apps; restricting the scope of healthcare mobility solutions.

To deal with the risk of data breaches and maintain the privacy of the patient’s information and reports, various standards and practices are recommended. However, several providers are in the hurry to embrace the healthcare mobile app development platform that they hardly pay attention to the privacy and security factors. They strive to engage the patients at the faster pace, and so invest far more money in building apps than securing them.

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According to a report released by IBM affiliate Arxan Technologies, about one-half of the organizations fail to include the required security in their mobile application development process. As a consequence, they failed to create an app that not only protects their patient’s personal details but also prevent putting their business in danger.

In order to prevent data breaches and offer a secure healthcare mobility solution as per HIPAA compliance, they need to adopt the best security practices.

Best Security Practices to Build Secure Healthcare Mobile Apps

Mobile Device Security

Many healthcare centers offer their devices to the caregivers and other non-staff members, which increases the risk of loss and theft. It’s almost impossible to ensure that the device does not fall into the wrong hands. However, you can limit the accessibility of the device to people. Secondly, you can accomplish various methods like GPS location tracking, remote wiping and locking, etc.

Data Encryption

On requesting, the patient data is retrieved from the server through wireless networks. It data is not encrypted, the hackers can easily acquire the sensitive information and misuse it. Hence, it is necessary to determine which device is communicating with the server for accessing the information. For this, you can implement the encryption. This will help to detect and limit the leakage and serve strong data protection to ensure compliance.

Restrict Access to Information

Only authorized users should have access to the protected data on mobile devices. More importantly, you can consider practices like recommending a strong password or two-factor authentication (2FA) to ensure healthcare app security.

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App Testing

By testing your mHealth app, you can easily identify bugs and errors, and prevent the risk of intrusion. In addition to this, you can determine if all the functionalities are as per expected.

Penetration testing, Data security testing, and Network security testing are some of the effective testing techniques you can depend upon.

App Update

Pushing app update at regular intervals is yet another effective method to deal with the loopholes in the app and make your healthcare application more secure than before.

Besides the aforementioned healthcare mobile app security practices, you can also look upon various other measures like implementing Jailbreak protection and choosing secure payment gateways.