Journal of Medical Systems

, 39:181 | Cite as

Privacy and Security in Mobile Health Apps: A Review and Recommendations

  • Borja Martínez-PérezEmail author
  • Isabel de la Torre-Díez
  • Miguel López-Coronado
Mobile Systems
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Mobile Systems


In a world where the industry of mobile applications is continuously expanding and new health care apps and devices are created every day, it is important to take special care of the collection and treatment of users’ personal health information. However, the appropriate methods to do this are not usually taken into account by apps designers and insecure applications are released. This paper presents a study of security and privacy in mHealth, focusing on three parts: a study of the existing laws regulating these aspects in the European Union and the United States, a review of the academic literature related to this topic, and a proposal of some recommendations for designers in order to create mobile health applications that satisfy the current security and privacy legislation. This paper will complement other standards and certifications about security and privacy and will suppose a quick guide for apps designers, developers and researchers.


Apps Recommendations Laws Mobile health (m-health) Privacy Security 



Advanced Encryption Standard


Security and privacy in Body Sensor Network




Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act


Electronic Health Records


European Union


Federal Trade Commission


Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act


International Mobile Equipment Identity


Information Technology


National Committee for Vital and Health Statistics


Personal Health Information


Public Key Infrastructure


Radio Frequency Identification


Rivest, Shamir and Adleman


Subscriber Identity Module


Transport Layer Security


United States of America


Virtual Private Network



This research has been partially supported by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, Spain.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Borja Martínez-Pérez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Isabel de la Torre-Díez
    • 1
  • Miguel López-Coronado
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Signal Theory and Communications, and Telematics EngineeringUniversity of ValladolidValladolidSpain

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