GDPR VS HIPAA Compliance Differences

GDPR VS HIPAA Compliance: What are the Differences?

For businesses dealing with software programs that process or deal with clients’ personal information, privacy regulations are an issue of significant concern. As of the 21st century, most people in this industry acknowledge the simple fact that shielding personal data or information is essential. Moreover, multiple Governing and regulatory bodies globally have generated numerous privacy regulations, rules, and laws. General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR and Health Insurance Portability and accountability are two of the most popular Data Privacy regulations that exist today. These regulations were generated to protect the confidentiality and privacy of personal data efficiently. However, although these two regulations carry out the same purpose, they have some differences. So what are the differences between GDPR and HIPAA? Why should you comply with these regulations? And which benefits do they offer to clients?

GDPR Regulations in a Nutshell

General Data Protection Regulation, or simply GDPR, is a data privacy and protection E.U. law. Back in 2012, the E.C. (European Commission) developed a plan to establish better information and data protection for Europe residents. The plan was GDPR. Initially, GDPR was a shield for personal data in Europe alone. However, in 2016, the commission later established a regulatory framework for GDPR.

Generally, GDPR requires businesses in the software development industry to protect E.U. citizen’s privacy online effectively. Moreover, these regulations also shield the privacy of any personal information processed outside EEA and E.U. areas.

GDPR regulations give E.U. citizens control over how they wish their personal information to be utilized by application owners. Moreover, these regulations require application owners to implement various information protection measures to effectively protect users’ personal data against misuse, fraud, or even theft.

HIPAA in a Nutshell

Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is also an info protection regulation act for United States employees, health insurers, and health care providers. Moreover, these regulations are also applicable to third-party companies handling the personal health info of users.

Health Insurance portability and accountability act regulations simply specify some requirements that lead to the protection of sensitive health information. Moreover, these regulations also set out information governance processes in different administration and billing areas. In these areas, HIPAA preserves the crucial right for a patient to access copies of protected health data from organizations. Moreover, HIPAA also regulates procedures that involve organizations sharing or processing PHI with different third-party organizations. Companies that handle PHI (protected data info) must comply with HIPAA by setting in place various security measures which ensure the security of the data.

Good read: HIPAA software compliance

Difference between GDPR and HIPAA

Difference between GDPR and HIPAA

  • Protected Data

In terms of protected data, HIPAA requires different organizations dealing with PHI to shield this type of information. Typically, they simply have to keep protected health info of different patients/individuals safe at all costs.

Moreover, data related to a patient’s payment, care, or health status fall under the PHI category. Therefore, HIPAA ensures that this type of data stays secure.

On the other hand, GDPR requires organizations dealing with software programs (for example, websites and apps) to protect users’ personal information. Information that might lead to hackers identifying a user falls under this category. Therefore, by complying with GDPR, developers ensure that hackers cannot access such kind of information.

  • Applicability

Organizations dealing with or processing the personal information of E.U. citizens must comply with the GDPR.

On the other hand, HIPAA only applies to all business associates and entities that handle PHI (protected health information). These organizations include:

  • Health care provides
  • Health care clearing house
  • Organizations offering health plans
  • Scope

In terms of scope, GDPR is applicable globally to any organization handling the personal data of E.U. citizens. Therefore, no matter the country that you are in, as long as you plan on handling EU P.I., then you have to comply with GDPR.

On the other hand, HIPAA regulations aren’t applicable globally. They only regulate business associates and entities dealing with PHI around the United States.

  • Consent

Under GDPR, app owners require explicit consent from users to process their personal information, especially if it is sensitive. However, if the data in question satisfies the GDPR’s processing conditions without consent (which falls under article 9 of GDPR), then app owners can ignore the consent part.

On the other hand, under HIPAA, organizations don’t require explicit consent from patients when it comes to the disclosure of protected health info.

  • Consumer Rights

The GDPR provides clients with control over how they wish their personal data to be utilized by various organizations. Moreover, clients should be able to erase their data and existence from an application or website.

HIPAA regulations, on the other hand, do not specify consumer rights.

  • Data Security

To comply with GDPR, organizations must set in place necessary measures to efficiently secure the privacy and integrity of personal information.

On the other hand, HIPAA requires organizations to apply necessary measures to preserve the privacy and security of PHI.

  • Data Breaches

Data breaches form the most significant threat in both GDPR and HIPAA.

Under GDPR, if individuals notice a breach affecting their rights, they should report this case to designated regulators within 72 H.R.s.

On the other hand, breaches that affect more than 500 records under HIPAA should be reported to a designated regulator in less than sixty days.

  •  Penalties

The penalty put in place by E.U. for organizations that do not comply with GDPR is set at over 20 million euros. Therefore, not complying with these regulations could land your organization in a lot of trouble.

On the other hand, HIPAA regulations have non-compliance fine penalties that range between 100 USD and 50,000 USD depending on the level of violations. Moreover, these regulations also have a maximum fine of about 1.5 million USD for repeat violations in a single year.

How can you make the HIPAA and GDPR compliance process easier?

HIPAA and GDPR are information privacy laws that help different organizations protect the integrity and privacy of sensitive information. When dealing with these regulations, the main focus is shielding crucial data, whether I.P. or PHI. And since these two regulations have a similar point of focus, achieving compliance in either or both of these regulations is easy.

GDPR covers a broader scope compared to HIPAA, which only covers PHI-related information. However, even though their scope differs, their primary purpose is to ensure the security of personal data. Therefore, all the necessary measures that you employ on GDPR to achieve compliance, you can also apply them to HIPAA. Hence, if your organization is GDPR compliant and you also want to achieve HIPAA compliance, all you have to do is utilize the same measure that you use when handling P.I. to PHI.

Things that you should adopt to Achieve HIPAA and GDPR Compliance Faster

If you are looking to adopt HIPAA and GDPR compliance faster and more efficiently, you should try applying the following criteria:

  • Conduct an information assessment – conducting an information assessment will help you understand the type and amount of information you are working with.
  • Identify Info Risk exposure – this will help you identify your resilience against various threats.
  • Appoint pro consultants – to better comply with HIPAA and GDPR; you should seek support from cyber security experts.


GDPR and HIPAA are crucial elements in the world that we live in today. No client wants their personal information out there for the world to see. And therefore, complying with either or both of these regulations makes it easier for clients to trust your organization.

Connect with software development company Aalpha information systems to know more about the GDPR VS HIPAA compliance differences

Written by:

Muzammil K

Muzammil K is the Marketing Manager at Aalpha Information Systems, where he leads marketing efforts to drive business growth. With a passion for marketing strategy and a commitment to results, he's dedicated to helping the company succeed in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Muzammil K is the Marketing Manager at Aalpha Information Systems, where he leads marketing efforts to drive business growth. With a passion for marketing strategy and a commitment to results, he's dedicated to helping the company succeed in the ever-changing digital landscape.