Technological innovations today are the driving force behind assisting the medical community to deliver quality care more effectively, along with improved security, privacy, and regulatory compliance. As healthcare organizations continue to face challenges in terms of providing round-the-clock services online, added complications such as meeting security and compliance standards set by –
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information.
- Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), created to stimulate the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and the supporting technology in the United States.
- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.
HIPAA’s equivalent in the European Union is the Data Protection Directive, however, a few member nations do have their own legalities in place. Additionally, patient safety in the United States is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates all kinds of medications and medical monitors and apparatus.
Why healthcare compliance can’t be ignored
Thus, while designing any product in the healthcare industry means that there are various regulations impacting its usability, design, implementation, and data. Being in the dark about these regulations can cause delays in product delivery, or furthermore, attract heavy penalties for not fulfilling safety standards. Regulations under these Acts generally fall into two categories: protecting the personal records and data of patients; and ensuring the all-round safety of patients, caregivers, and medical staff while using medical devices/apps.
Legacy systems in the healthcare sector make it particularly vulnerable to cyber threats such as ransomware and data security. Industry watchdog HIPAA and the related HITECH have stricter rules aimed at curbing data breaches and other mishaps. Incidents of hacking, phishing, data theft, and lax account management practices have resulted in some serious ramifications for patients. To put it in perspective, an individual who has had his credit card credentials hacked into can block it easily enough, however, a patient whose private healthcare records have been stolen is deemed to bear the consequences for long.
Thus, when it comes to designing for healthcare projects, there remains the added challenge of devising comprehensive strategies to maintain security, privacy, and compliance along with ensuring better patient outcomes.
Empowering healthcare safety through UX
A definitive user experience strategy plays a crucial role in helping healthcare organizations support clinicians and optimize patient outcomes. Electronic medical records (EMRs) make patient data, test data, medical images, video and other information securely available anywhere and everywhere. It has empowered healthcare providers to access clinical systems and apps from anywhere, and choose the right device for any scenario.
A user experience has an undisputed presence within every human-technology interaction. The integration of user-centered design principles into the healthcare industry processes, products, and workflows is, therefore, something of a natural progression. Paying due attention to designing patient safety practices and strategies to help make organizations and processes increasingly efficient and cost-effective. User experience is integral to the successful implementation of technology in healthcare.
Ensuring safety and security compliance
– Secure sockets layer (SSL) is a networking protocol used to create a safe connection between the client and server by necessitating authentication from both sides. This communication is further encrypted by a dual key system, thus rendering SSL to be a safe protocol used to transmit Protected Health Information (PHI) or any such sensitive data.
– PHI should not only be encrypted but also backed up and recoverable.
– HIPAA mandates all healthcare technology platforms to securely store backups of all essential data. Thus, maintaining a secure database is a necessity, so that the information stored is not tampered with or altered.
– Ensuring that information is only accessible by authorized personnel.
– Another requirement under HIPAA states that any PHI that is no longer relevant to the organization must be permanently wiped from the servers and database. Thus, provisions need to be made to permanently dispose of information when it is no longer required.
– Information must be located on a server that is secured by HIPAA security rule requirements and/or a web server company who you have a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with.
Employing UX principles can enable healthcare organizations to optimize their services. It can help elevate clinician productivity and quality of patient interactions by giving safe and speedy access to clinical systems and information across any device and location. This way, doctors end up saving precious time previously taken for the mundane and focusing instead on their patients.