Healthcare is one of the biggest industries in the world, expected to reach approximately $10,06 trillion by 2020. Because of the huge demand for new and innovative tools and services, healthcare has always been among the pioneers for testing and implementing cutting-edge technologies.
On the other hand, healthcare should pay double attention to its security as it deals with highly personal information. The misuse of this information can lead to anything, from stolen identity to death, even.
We have collected a list of the best APIs that, in our opinion, can help you secure your healthcare software and ensure it is used as intended.
The essentials to protect your app
Before we get down to the third-party services, let’s talk about the basics that you should consider when developing an app.
App development is a complex subject that has many aspects, such as regulatory compliance, data encryption, etc. Here are things to keep in mind:
# Device security
Healthcare software comes in many forms. It is not used on mobile devices only, but also on specific medical devices, used by either the medical specialists or the patients. Thus, it’s important to secure the device so it is used as intended.
For the users, it is important to remember to lock the device every time they finish a session. For you, as a developer or an entrepreneur, it would be a good idea to add a feature of remote device tracking (via GPS, for example) and the option to lock the device remotely.
# Data encryption
A user requests the data and the server sends it — that’s how every mobile app functions, including the healthcare one. Unfortunately, there is a chance that a hacker can steal it during the process and this is the primary reason why you have to encrypt the data. One of the best and most efficient ways to do that is to use the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols.
# Protected access
If you want your app to be secure, make sure it has a limited number of the users. For that, introduce the login and authorization option and ask the users to create complex logins and passwords.
Also, don’t hesitate to enhance the security and implement the two-factor authentication for the app.
# Regulatory compliance
You must have heard about the European GDPR that came into effect in 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation is focused on personal data protection and affected many companies, with the healthcare industry on top of the list. So if you are a European company, your products should comply with GDPR.
As for the USA, the app must comply with HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability of Act. Same as GDPR, HIPAA aims at protecting the personal data and secure the products and services that deal with it. You can read more about HIPAA compliance here.
# Software testing
There are different aspects of testing but, since we discuss security, pay special attention to security testing.
This testing method is aimed at identifying software vulnerabilities and estimates how easy it is to breach it. So before launching the app, make sure you’ve done numerous tests and successfully pass them.
APIs for work with Big Data
Healthcare goes hand in hand with the Big Data and thus, requires efficient tools to process and analyze it. As well, healthcare demands APIs that are powerful enough to work with such data volumes. Below you will find our top-5 picks of third-party services that can handle your Big Data in a secure and efficient manner.
This free API collects and shares the real-time health data with patients and enterprises and allows easy and secure access to health information. With the help of machine learning, the service is able to extract the required data from numerous files and then process and analyze it.
The service can be embedded into a variety of health applications, including lie insurance, health insurance, and digital health. As well, it is compliant with HIPAA.
Another free and HIPAA-compliant service is DrChrono — a SaaS patient care platform. Its main focus is EHR (electronic health records), medical billing, prescriptions management.
The service comes with a bunch of useful documentation and provides support for the developers, making the service easy to integrate and use.
This cloud platform uses machine learning to analyze the patients’ data and gives access to this data to healthcare companies and researchers. With the help of Medable, medical professionals can get a better insight into various diseases and study them more thoroughly.
As for the use in the mobile app, the platform can expand your app’s functionality, offers numerous integration options, and has advanced analytics.
The service helps patients find doctors or information about specific doctors, which is a rather cool idea. If your app is somewhat similar to the doctors’ search, the service will be a nice add-on and will bring additional value to the users.
The service is compliant with HIPAA and comes with a free trial.
The mission of the BlueEHR, as they state on the website, is to “make healthcare affordable and accessible to everyone”. The service offers an array of solutions, from revenue cycle management to e-prescribing.
With the help of the BlueEHR, you can customize your healthcare app, add new features to it and quickly build an efficient app. BlueEHR transforms the mundane and bulky processes into a single and smoothly functioning unit.
APIs for payments and insurances
We’ve mentioned billing, and billing means financial transactions. Any financial operations demand a high level of security, so check out the top-3 APIs that are reliable in terms of medical financing.
The service offers many health insurance services and operates as a data translation layer, as per the description on the website. Vericred delivers structured data via a universal API and is aimed at health insurance and employee benefits areas.
The service helps patients search for the insurance companies and provides both insurance and billing APIs. Eligible helps users connect their apps with the chosen insurance company and makes the payment process faster, easier, and more secure.
Getsafe is another service that focuses on health insurance strongly. It enables health insurance providers to reach the patients easily and offer them suitable insurance plan. The integration of service is quite easy for both the existing and new apps.
Healthcare is an industry that requires double attention to the quality of its products and services. Thus, for mobile app developers, it is vital to guarantee their products comply with regulations, indeed make an impact on the lives of patients and medical specialists, and help transform the industry for the better.
Written by Natalia Kukushkina
Best Healthcare APIs to Enhance your Software Security was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.