The Healthcare Marketer’s Guide to Navigating HIPAA Compliance

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Are you struggling to implement an efficient healthcare advertising and marketing technique that’s HIPAA-compliant? You’re removed from alone. It’s the wide-reaching minefield of laws — like HIPAA compliance for affected person information safety — that triggered healthcare to lag behind different industries that rapidly tailored trendy digital advertising and marketing methods.

Fairly than navigating these complexities, many healthcare organizations persist with conventional advertising and marketing channels like TV, radio, and print advertisements, dropping out on the digital alternative to ship their advertising and marketing message on to the precise particular person. Others make the error of utilizing out-of-the-box advertising and marketing software program, which may result in HIPAA compliance points.

What Is HIPAA Compliance and Why Is It So Necessary?

HIPAA stands for the Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act, which was handed in 1996. It dictates how healthcare trade organizations might lawfully retailer, share, handle, and report sufferers’ protected well being info (PHI).

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies HIPAA Privateness Rule states that any group that gives healthcare remedies, fee administration, or operations is taken into account a HIPAA “lined entity” — as are their “enterprise associates.” HIPAA defines a enterprise affiliate as any particular person or entity that gives companies to a lined entity that requires the disclosure of protected well being info (PHI). Meaning software program corporations that retailer, share, or have entry to PHI have to be HIPAA-compliant — or lose healthcare purchasers.

In a nutshell, HIPAA merely requires that you just:

  • Put safeguards in place to guard affected person well being info
  • Fairly restrict makes use of and sharing to the minimal mandatory to perform your meant goal
  • Have agreements in place with any service suppliers that carry out lined capabilities or actions for you
  • Have procedures in place to restrict who can entry affected person well being info, and implement a coaching program for you and your workers about how you can defend your affected person well being info

What Is Protected Well being Info (PHI)?

Protected well being info (PHI) is well being info contained in any bodily report, together with well being histories (diagnoses and coverings), lab check outcomes, and medical payments. PHI that’s created, saved, or transmitted electronically is named ePHI.

The HIPAA Journal defines PHI as “individually identifiable info regarding the previous, current, or future well being standing of a person that’s created, collected, transmitted, or maintained by a HIPAA-covered entity in relation to the availability of healthcare, fee for healthcare companies, or use in healthcare operations.”

Protected well being info consists of a number of of the next identifiers:

  • Full identify or final identify and preliminary and gender
  • Geographical identifiers smaller than a state
  • Dates (aside from yr) instantly associated to a person
  • Cellphone numbers (of affected person and emergency contact)
  • Fax numbers
  • E mail addresses
  • Social Safety numbers
  • Medical report numbers
  • Medical insurance beneficiary numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Certificates/license numbers
  • Car identifiers (serial numbers and license plate numbers)
  • Gadget identifiers and serial numbers
  • Net uniform useful resource locators (URLs)
  • Web protocol (IP) deal with numbers
  • Biometric identifiers (finger, retinal and voice prints)
  • Full-face images
  • Every other distinctive figuring out quantity or code (besides the distinctive code assigned by the investigator to code the info)

As soon as these identifiers are eliminated, the knowledge is taken into account de-identified and isn’t topic to the restrictions of the HIPAA Privateness Rule.

What Info Is Not Thought-about PHI?

The Division of Well being and Human Companies additionally outline what just isn’t thought-about PHI:

  • Communication a few health-related service or product that’s supplied by or included in a plan of advantages of the lined entity (CE) making the communication. For instance, CEs are allowed to tell purchasers {that a} new therapy or facility is coming quickly.
  • Communication that’s a part of a therapy plan — prescription refill reminder or a lab check referral — just isn’t thought-about advertising and marketing and doesn’t require sufferers’ approval.
  • Communication that’s a part of care coordination, like an alternate supplier or therapy suggestion, just isn’t thought-about advertising and marketing.

How Does HIPAA Compliance Have an effect on Your Advertising and marketing Campaigns?

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies’ HIPAA Privateness Rule defines advertising and marketing as:

  • “… a communication a few services or products that encourages recipients of the communication to buy or use the services or products.”
  • “… an association between a lined entity and some other entity whereby the lined entity discloses PHI to the opposite entity, in trade for direct or oblique remuneration, for the opposite entity or its affiliate to make a communication about its personal services or products that encourages recipients to buy or use that services or products.” There aren’t any exceptions to this second half.

For instance, if a affected person is on Warfarin and a reminder is shipped to the affected person to refill the prescription, it’s not thought-about advertising and marketing and doesn’t require a launch by the affected person so long as the pharma firm doesn’t pay for the communication.

Nonetheless, if Bristol Meyers Squibb desires that affected person to strive its new anticoagulant, Eliquis, the affected person would wish to signal an authorization permitting advertising and marketing communication to be despatched.

You’ll must get hold of a affected person’s written authorization earlier than utilizing or disclosing PHI for advertising and marketing functions or on the market to a 3rd social gathering. This implies utilizing opt-in electronic mail seize types and never “assuming” it’s okay to market to a affected person simply because you could have their electronic mail deal with on file.

Additionally, any healthcare supplier you do advertising and marketing for (a lined entity) can’t promote PHI to a enterprise affiliate or a 3rd social gathering for use for that social gathering’s personal self-interest with out expressed authorization from every affected person. You could find a full record of mandatory authorizations right here: 45 CFR 164.508.

Why Your Healthcare Shoppers Want HIPAA-Compliant Software program

In keeping with the HIPAA Journal, the aim of HIPAA compliance software program is to information HIPAA-covered entities or enterprise associates to change into and stay HIPAA-compliant whereas following the HITECH Act Guidelines. Compliant software program additionally helps corporations doc all good-faith efforts to conform.

That is to guard a healthcare firm that could be audited by the HHS’ Workplace for Civil Rights (OCR) or state attorneys common over an information breach. The software program additionally helps prepare workers and implement technical, bodily, and administrative safeguards. Investing in HIPAA-compliant software program is important on your healthcare group, as even small offenses can result in fines anyplace from $100 to $50,000. In 2020 alone, healthcare corporations paid as a lot as $4.3 million in HIPAA penalties.

Implementing a HIPAA-Compliant Healthcare Advertising and marketing Technique

Though healthcare advertising and marketing tech lags behind that of different industries, sufferers nonetheless count on dynamic digital experiences. A CDW Company Healthcare survey discovered that 89% of sufferers need easy, seamless entry to their private well being data. And 98% are snug speaking with suppliers digitally — by way of texting, cell apps, on-line chats, or dwell video.

No matter your digital advertising and marketing technique sort, there are steps you may take to attenuate your threat of a HIPAA compliance breach.

First: Decrease your threat of a HIPAA compliance breach

Develop a PHI use coverage that features SOPs for:

  • Coaching your advertising and marketing departments commonly to verify they perceive HIPAA necessities
  • Clarifying who has entry to PHI and for what goal, then monitoring it commonly
  • Documenting your advertising and marketing campaigns with clear reasoning for why PHI is included
  • Guaranteeing there’s a clear approach for sufferers to choose in and choose out of receiving advertising and marketing communication
  • Monitoring the implementation of the coverage

If you wish to market to any affected person utilizing information from their PHI, you should safe their authorization. This implies offering easy-to-use opt-in electronic mail seize types to substantiate {that a} affected person approves your use of their electronic mail deal with to ship communications and promotions.

To ship a compelling HIPAA-compliant digital expertise, comply with these methods:

Implement HIPAA Compliance for E mail Advertising and marketing

E mail advertising and marketing continues to be one the best methods to spice up your healthcare advertising and marketing ROI. In actual fact, based on a HubSpot survey, electronic mail advertising and marketing campaigns generate $38 for each greenback spent — that’s a 3,800% ROI.

The Federal Commerce Fee’s (FTC) Bureau of Shopper Safety offers a CAN-SPAM Act compliance information for electronic mail entrepreneurs to comply with when implementing campaigns.

  • Make it straightforward on your electronic mail recipients to unsubscribe
  • Embody a mailing deal with the place they’ll write to you
  • Determine the enterprise that’s sending the e-mail within the electronic mail’s “from,” “reply to,” and “routing info” sections
  • Clarify the e-mail’s content material within the topic line
  • Clearly and conspicuously establish your message as an commercial
  • Don’t create any emails utilizing PHI with out expressed consent from sufferers
  • Encrypt each electronic mail that accommodates any sort of PHI (together with identify or electronic mail deal with) to make sure solely you and the recipient have entry to the content material
  • Make sure that servers storing electronic mail information with PHI are additionally encrypted with off-site backup

Implement HIPAA Compliance for Social Media

Social media helps interact sufferers in their very own care by rapidly speaking important details about companies, check outcomes, and the most recent situation and therapy analysis. Statistics reported by Pew Analysis Middle present that roughly 72% of web customers search healthcare info on-line, usually on social media.

Comply with the following pointers to make sure your social media technique follows HIPAA compliance:

  • Don’t share social posts or advertisements that characteristic PHI with out getting expressed consent
  • Be sure that workers members aren’t posting observe images and by accident sharing PHI; to be protected, use inventory pictures
  • Create a social media technique that paperwork what group members can and can’t put up, then comply with up with coaching classes to make sure HIPAA compliance
  • Arrange controls to flag any key phrases or phrases which may point out a HIPAA compliance breach earlier than posting

Implement HIPAA Compliance for Web sites

Your web site is the inspiration of your digital advertising and marketing technique — be certain that it’s safe and user-friendly. To stay nimble within the web’s ever-changing panorama, the language round HIPAA laws for web sites is usually deliberately obscure.

FullMedia recommends following the following pointers for making certain HIPAA compliance in your web site:

  • Retailer all net types, contact types, and appointment information on an encrypted server with off-site backup
  • Buy and implement an SSL certificates on your web site
  • Guarantee all net types in your web site are encrypted and safe
  • Solely ship emails containing PHI by means of encrypted electronic mail servers
  • Associate with web-hosting corporations which can be HIPAA-compliant
  • Signal a BAA with third events which have entry to your sufferers’ PHI
  • Make sure that PHI is barely accessible to approved people
  • Set up processes to delete, backup, and restore PHI as wanted
  • Submit a HIPAA privateness coverage in your web site
  • Appoint a HIPAA compliance officer to watch and keep your coverage

Digital Advertising and marketing Instruments for HIPAA-Compliant Entrepreneurs

There are such a lot of healthcare advertising and marketing platforms to select from that it might be fairly time-consuming to substantiate HIPAA compliance for every one you’re contemplating. That’s why we’ve compiled a listing of examined software program that can assist improve your healthcare advertising and marketing technique.

HIPAA-Compliant Analytics and Reporting Instruments

Although there are different strong platforms to select from, Google Analytics is the one healthcare trade professionals nonetheless rely upon. When utilizing the instrument “out of the field,” you’ll want to switch it to satisfy HIPAA compliance and guarantee no unauthorized PHI is being collected. When your web site site visitors hits a delegated stage, you’ll need to keep away from amassing “sampled” information by upgrading to Google Analytics 360, which would require you to re-modify for HIPAA compliance.

Earlier than you push information out of your numerous sources right into a enterprise intelligence instrument, strive combining them in Google’s Massive Question. That is an easy-to-use answer that means that you can be part of, scrub, and normalize your information in order that once you import it right into a enterprise intelligence instrument like Energy BI, you may instantly start visualizing and analyzing it.

Amazon Redshift is an analogous “information warehouse” sort instrument like BigQuery. Although it’s not HIPAA-compliant out of the field, it’s HIPAA-compliance eligible, which implies you’ll must configure it for healthcare trade laws. You’ll must evaluate consumer permissions and maintain a log of everybody who accesses it to make sure that all information is saved and encrypted correctly.

In case you’re in search of an information storage and reporting instrument, contemplate Energy BI, Microsoft’s HIPAA-compliant enterprise intelligence software program which is included within the value of Microsoft’s 365 Enterprise Suite.

HIPAA-Compliant Advertising and marketing Automation Instruments

Utilizing software program to nurture gross sales leads and personalize advertising and marketing content material will prevent time and power. You’ll must put money into a HIPAA-compliant advertising and marketing automation system that means that you can retailer PHI in a compliant method so you may personalize your advertising and marketing automation campaigns (newsletters, emails, new service bulletins) to your personas’ wants and habits.
Search for a advertising and marketing automation instrument that permits seamless engagement throughout audiences, personalised conversations, efficiency insights to direct your spend, and naturally, HIPAA compliance to maintain all PHI information safe.

HIPAA-Compliant Web site Instruments

Your web site will want an appointment administration platform, a healthcare-specific scheduling instrument with a easy consumer interface, and affected person acquisition monitoring (monitoring marketing campaign conversions with Google Analytics tags is useful).

To trace kind submissions, you may implement CallRail, a submission instrument that tracks your calls and emails in the identical interface. The FormStack instrument offers healthcare-specific templates to arrange types for lead technology, affected person acquisition, or gear ordering. It’s also possible to gather affected person info by means of Jotform’s HIPAA-compliant types.

To optimize your consumer expertise, contemplate Visible Web site Optimizer (VWO), which will be configured to be HIPAA-compliant. VWO options detailed directions for gathering qualitative information about your guests’ web site use and lets you run A/B assessments to enhance your conversion charges.

In case you’re creating functions, True Vault is an app-developer-friendly answer to HIPAA compliance. The platform combines a safe and compliant healthcare API and information storage to attach, energy, and safe healthcare apps, assembly the technical and bodily safeguards mandated by HIPAA.

HIPAA-Compliant CRM Instruments

After doing loads of analysis and testing, has compiled this record of among the finest HIPAA-compliant CRM software program available on the market:

  • Salesforce Well being Cloud — finest healthcare CRM software program total
  • Zendesk — finest healthcare CRM answer software program for customer support
  • Onpipeline — prime medical CRM software program for affected person acquisition
  • Leadsquared — finest HIPAA-compliant CRM software program
  • IMS —good physician CRM instruments for EHR administration
  • OperaDDS — prime CRM software program for dentists
  • PatientPop — good healthcare CRM answer for electronic mail automation
  • HIPAA CRM — good cloud-based healthcare CRM for HIPAA compliance
  • Healthgrades — prime healthcare CRM contact middle answer
  • PlayMaker Well being — prime healthcare CRM for enterprise intelligence
  • Enquire’s CRM — faucets into Microsoft’s spectacular safety information

Constructed particularly for HIPAA compliance, MedChat is one other chatting and messaging instrument that leverages AI and machine studying to optimize two-way texting, web site chatting, and automatic appointment reminders.

HIPAA-Compliant Social Media Ways

HIPAA prohibits the usage of PHI on social media networks — together with textual content about sufferers in addition to photographs or movies that might establish the affected person — except they’ve given consent in writing. In case your advertising and marketing technique consists of Google and Fb advert campaigns, don’t count on these platforms to guard PHI.

Fb, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yelp should not HIPAA-compliant as a result of they won’t signal a enterprise affiliate settlement (BAA) with lined entities. Nonetheless, you could possibly use the platforms in a HIPAA-compliant method when further disclosures and privateness instruments are applied.

For instance, the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies dominated in 2018 that their use of the Fb pixel, together with for the needs of retargeting, was totally compliant with all PHI laws by offering customers with the power to opt-out. CMS is a division of the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies, which serves because the unofficial regulator for HIPAA enforcement.

In 2020, each Apple and Google introduced important updates to their platforms that may restrict advertisers’ potential to trace customers throughout web sites and units. As these adjustments go dwell, we count on to be taught extra about how they might assist defend PHI. Till then, with out these stringent safety measures and specific, written permission from customers, the usage of pixels from Fb and different third-party suppliers is dangerous for anybody topic to HIPAA compliance. Any suppliers who need to use these instruments ought to work with an legal professional specializing in HIPAA compliance to precisely assess their dangers and limitations.

HIPAA Compliance E mail Advertising and marketing Instruments

So long as you abide by the CAN-SPAM Act, get hold of prior authorization from sufferers, and leverage a HIPAA-compliant platform, you should use electronic mail advertising and marketing to develop your corporation and enhance affected person outcomes. The one electronic mail system that options HIPAA compliance is Paubox.

Paubox Advertising and marketing permits recipients to view advertising and marketing emails like common emails with out counting on out-dated portal notifications that are horrible for the recipient. You should utilize it to section and ship safe electronic mail (together with PHI) to extend engagement and construct your corporation whereas remaining HIPAA-compliant.

Paubox recommends that earlier than you add a brand new identify to your subscriber record:

  • Ask your sufferers for written authorization to obtain advertising and marketing emails
  • Remind them why they initially opted-in (for care coordination, to get refill reminders, promotional presents or low cost coupons, or to get information about your observe
  • Provide an easy-to-use unsubscribe choice

For affected person polling and persona analysis, strive utilizing the intuitive and HIPAA-compliant SurveyMonkey. It can will let you ship questionnaires or surveys to sufferers or prospects and gather information. is a strong instrument for managing location listings, on-line opinions, and social media. This platform manages your location and doctor profiles, updates and pushes out adjustments to bios, secures affected person opinions, and manages your social media — all with HIPAA compliance assist.

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