An Empirical Study on Developing Secure Mobile Health Apps: The Developers Perspective

by   Bakheet Aljedaani, et al.

Mobile apps exploit embedded sensors and wireless connectivity of a device to empower users with portable computations, context-aware communication, and enhanced interaction. Specifically, mobile health apps (mHealth apps for short) are becoming integral part of mobile and pervasive computing to improve the availability and quality of healthcare services. Despite the offered benefits, mHealth apps face a critical challenge, i.e., security of health critical data that is produced and consumed by the app. Several studies have revealed that security specific issues of mHealth apps have not been adequately addressed. The objectives of this study are to empirically (a) investigate the challenges that hinder development of secure mHealth apps, (b) identify practices to develop secure apps, and (c) explore motivating factors that influence secure development. We conducted this study by collecting responses of 97 developers from 25 countries, across 06 continents, working in diverse teams and roles to develop mHealth apps for Android, iOS, and Windows platform. Qualitative analysis of the survey data is based on (i) 8 critical challenges, (ii) taxonomy of best practices to ensure security, and (iii) 6 motivating factors that impact secure mHealth apps. This research provides empirical evidence as practitioners view and guidelines to develop emerging and next generation of secure mHealth apps.



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