Mobile Health Developers Push for More Clarity on HIPAA Regs

September 16, 2014 in News

On Monday, a mobile software industry group sent a letter urging Congress to press HHS for clarity on HIPAA regulations for mobile application developers, MobiHealthNews reports (Dolan, MobiHealthNews, 9/15).

Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) had asked health IT developers to tell him about specific problems related to HHS.

Details of Letter

In the letter to Marino, ACT| The App Association wrote that HHS has failed to provide developer-friendly online resources about HIPAA privacy rules.

The groups said they face difficulties competing with bigger vendors because they do not have the means to hire lawyers and consultants to stay on top of HIPAA regulations.

Further, they said that federal regulators “have not kept pace with the rapid growth of technology that gives users greater access to health care providers and more control over their health information” (Farr, Reuters, 9/15). The group added that information currently provided on HHS’ website is out-of-date (Mottl, FierceMobileHealthcare, 9/15).

In its letter, ACT| The App Association argued that federal officials should:

  • Bolster outreach to new companies in the health care industry;
  • Improve and update guidance from HHS’ Office for Civil Rights on acceptable implementations of applications; and
  • Make current HIPAA regulations more accessible for technology companies (MobiHealthNews, 9/15).

Groups that signed the letter include:

HHS Response

An HHS spokesperson said that the agency has posted online information about security regulations for mobile health applications.

The spokesperson added, “The goal is to make sure that health information, no matter what form, paper or electronic, is kept safe and secure” (Reuters, 9/15).

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