The Signal: Searches related to HIPAA and HIPAA compliance have spiked as healthcare providers, and those building healthcare applications, have scrambled to keep patient data secure while responding to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is a series of laws governing the flow of healthcare information in the US. It was designed with the goal of guarding patients’ healthcare data, usually referred to as Protected Health Information (PHI).

HIPAA lays out clear physical, technical, and administrative safeguards that all businesses must have in place if they manage PHI. For example, entities managing electronic PHI must implement systems to encrypt and decrypt that data where appropriate, to avoid it being stolen en route. This includes healthcare providers, their business partners, and any subcontractors or vendors, including those who make apps that transmit patient data.