One of the unsung heroes driving growth for the healthcare industry has been the software industry. With unique software, healthcare providers of all sizes have been able to improve, automate internal processes without any involvement of huge setup costs. It has improved efficiency, reduced human error and helped in lightening up the administrative load on medical staffs. However, it seems just the beginning. With years to come, tech organizations are expected to foray in this space directly with cloud getting secure and various methods of data encryption being discovered.
Regulators across the globe have been forward-looking but little skeptical and have come up with regulations to ensure fair practice. HIPAA, the data privacy and security standards that safeguard medical information has been the highlight for the western world.
Before we understand its implications let us first understand what it is?
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a standard process for the protection of sensitive patient data, which encompasses nearly every aspect of U.S. healthcare. It has been created on behalf of the United States Department of Health & Human Services and today collaborates with a number of U.S. healthcare systems towards creating an affordable and convenient healthcare service for all.
As soon as HIPAA was born, everyone across the world loved the idea behind it but soon a number of challenges surfaced for techies. With time, a number of them were addressed but the following still remains a sign of worry for many.
- Ensuring End To End Data Security
Data security is a big challenge in the industry. However, it gets ignored often during planning as developers look too much into the process of developing the application. With HIPAA, security has become the center of attention and tech architects are now focusing on creating a robust structure and ensuring that the pre-approved protocols are adhered to.
- Minimal Push Notifications
Push notifications are a great way to engage in mobile-based patients. However, they are partially insecure as any data that is shared turns out to be wrong or someone reads and leaks it, then it results in the violation of the law. In fact, sending Protected Heading Information (PHI) is completely prohibited.
- Messaging Violations
Every PHI shared via messaging has to be encrypted and sending it via regular mail which is not fully-encrypted or HIPAA compliant result in a violation.
Even after such serious issues, Global HIPAA-Compliant Messaging Services market has seen a robust growth due to increasing adaptation among different segments of end users. A number of reports have suggested a double-digit Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in the upcoming few years. But why so?
- Innovation Is Happening
A number of companies are solving interesting problems and acquiring the market by the uniqueness of their services. For example, K, a healthcare app that offers personalized healthcare based on symptoms is HIPAA compliant and even allows options to chat with doctors. A number of HIPAA compliant messaging service along with video or audio based have allowed such ideas to scale and reach out to the majority.
- Top In Government’s Focus
Improvement of the healthcare system has become a focal point for governments across the world. As per the World Bank, we see a surge in current health expenditure as a percentage of GDP from 9.062% in 2008 to 10.021% in 2016. The rising concerns of healthcare issues are allowing a number of technologists to look into ways to solve this challenge. One of them is Prognos, which maintains the largest source of lab data across 50 disease areas, with over 20B HIPAA-compliant records for 200 million patients. The idea behind is to provide data which allows agencies to improve the conditions globally.
- Healthcare Communication Is Distressing
If we look at the current healthcare communication then it shows us why HIPAA based communication is the future. Today, it depends on some disparate solution which needs to be cobbled together to find the needs of different departments and rising concerns of communication workflow in healthcare. Healthcare services need to work on reducing paperwork and providing information regarding health plan specific reporting, filing requirements for the health care system in a much easier way. One of the startups working in this direction is Embleema, a HIPAA compliant Blockchain putting patients at the center of clinical research, disrupting the slow, manual and opaque process used today to collect real-world evidence.
Organizations across the globe continue to show their commitment to healthcare and that it is in for the long haul. With companies like Amazon, which unveiled its HIPAA compliant software last month that allows developers to build Alexa skills make it possible for users to employ the voice assistant to transmit and receive protected health information. This opens gates towards astringent yet innovative healthcare system. The future is interesting, we must say!