Assessing the Privacy Policies in Mobile Personal Health Records

Cruz-Zapata, Belen ;   Hernandez NiƱirola, Antonio ;   Fernandez Aleman, Jose Luis ;   Toval, Ambrosio

The huge increase in the number and use of smartphones and tablets has led health service providers to take an interest in mHealth. Popular mobile app markets like Apple App Store or Google Play contain thousands of health applications. Although mobile personal health records (mPHRs) have a number of benefits, important challenges appear in the form of adoption barriers. Security and privacy have been identified as part of these barriers and should be addressed. This paper analyzes and assesses a total of 24 free mPHRs for Android and iOS. Characteristics regarding privacy and security were extracted from the HIPAA. The results show important differences in both the mPHRs and the characteristics analyzed. A questionnaire containing six questions concerning privacy policies was defined. Our questionnaire may assist developers and stakeholders to evaluate the security and privacy of their mPHRs.