A Look at the Potential HIPAA Pitfalls in Your Marketing Strategy
Topic: A Look at the Potential HIPAA Pitfalls in Your Marketing Strategy
Whether you’ve worked in the homecare space for decades or have joined the ranks more recently, you’ve likely learned about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). After all, HIPAA requires adherence to a very specific set of privacy-related standards, designed to protect patients and their private health information.
When you think of HIPAA, details related to a homecare patient’s health file probably come to mind. You recognize and understand the importance of keeping that clinical record secure and away from the eyes of those who are not authorized to see it.
But you might be surprised to know that HIPAA’s purview goes well beyond day-to-day clinical practices or even in-office information. Your homecare organization’s digital presence—including your marketing efforts—must also maintain HIPAA compliance.
When it comes to marketing, “storytelling” has been a buzzword for a few years now. Odds are you’ve included a patient testimonial or two in your marketing efforts, whether in print or on your website.
After all, telling a patient’s story—and even sharing his or her family’s experience with your company’s homecare services—makes a compelling case for what other prospective customers could expect.
When you use a patient testimonial or patient photo in your marketing materials, you likely know that you need to have the patient sign off on appropriate documentation allowing you to share that information.
But it’s important to note that you need this authorization even if you’re not sharing health-related details about the patient. The simple act of including them in your marketing collateral identifies the person as a potential patient, which is considered protected health information (PHI).
Although sharing patient information feels like the most obvious way in which HIPAA compliance overlaps with marketing, there’s more to it. In fact, most HIPAA violations that emerge from marketing efforts don’t relate to the content you’re creating.
Instead marketing-related HIPAA infractions often occur from the information you’re gathering as part of your marketing efforts, rather than information you’re giving out.
What is meant by that—and more importantly, where should you focus your attention to prevent any HIPAA compliance mishaps? First, think about where you’re seeking to collect information from patients or potential patients, such as contact forms or event signups.
Topic Discussed: A Look at the Potential HIPAA Pitfalls in Your Marketing Strategy
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