Digital health industry stakeholders call for increased HIPAA clarity

mHealth application developers are seeking more accessible guidelines to avoiding HIPAA violations.

Alongside the rise in popularity of health and wellness applications and other programs designed to help Americans take a more active role in preventative care has been the growing demands from lobbyists to increase the transparency of HIPAA laws. 

Last month, The App Association, an industry group representing over 5,000 mobile app players, appealed to Rep. Tom Marino in hopes of sparking change in the regulatory environment. HIPAA violations are a major concern of developers seeking to enter the lucrative mobile health market. However, the complexity of the laws makes it difficult for developers to ensure compliance. 

The App Association has called on the Office of Civil Rights as well, urging updated guidance to assist those looking to enter the newest era in health care technology. The groups's Executive Director,  Morgan Reed, recently spoke with MobiHealthNews about some of the challenges developers are facing in dealing with the fear of HIPAA violations. 

"We see a resistance from some developers who are doing amazing apps to get involved with anything that even smells of HIPAA," Reed said. "The issue our members face, though, is that if care systems don't understand the intersection of HIPAA and mobile, and their reaction is to say 'no', then apps that improve outcomes don't make it through the front door."

With medical costs rising steadily, the industry needs as many minds as possible to help determine ways of making health care more affordable and accessible. It could be that some of these developers have ideas that could help streamline services and reduce the tensions many facilities feel as a result of uncompensated care. However, as long as the fear of HIPAA violations is keeping them from entering the marketplace, we can only speculate. 

HIPAA compliance services could give these developers peace of mind, and help to navigate the path towards full compliance.

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