Staying HIPAA Compliant on Social Media

September 20, 2021

As a professional in the healthcare field, you are aware of your commitment to your patients and the importance of maintaining their privacy. Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, every medical office is legally obligated to keep protected health information confidential and to inform clients of these rights and the level of control individuals have over health information. When managing social media content marketing for healthcare, several precautions must be taken to avoid HIPAA violations.

What information is protected under HIPAA?

Essentially any information on a patient’s medical record, including diagnoses, identifying details, and payment information, must be kept confidential unless the patient properly consents to its sharing. Under the privacy rule, this information cannot be utilized for marketing unless authorization is provided in writing. Examples of specific information that cannot be shared include:

  • Patient names or dates of birth
  • Geographic and demographic identifiers
  • Phone numbers, physical addresses, and email addresses
  • Account numbers, tax ID numbers, and Social Security numbers
  • Full-face photographs

How can you market on social media without violating HIPAA?

Whether posting on social media yourself or working with a company that offers content management for healthcare, it is essential you have a strict strategy in place that takes the HIPAA Privacy Rule into consideration.

Generalizing content

Anyone involved in creating ads or posts needs to be aware that patients’ information must be kept private at all costs. This entails never including personal information about patients in content, not taking photos of patients without their permission, and ensuring there are no forms or screens with patient details visible in office photos. Instruct your staff members and other providers to follow these same protocols when posting to their own accounts. If using patient testimonials, make sure to get consent first.

When posting to social media, this may mean content needs to be more generalized. Posts and ads can cover basic information about your practice, what qualities set it apart, educational pieces on specific treatments or conditions, and promotions on services or products.

Creating a social media policy

Draft a social media policy that details what constitutes a HIPAA compliance violation and detail how patient privacy must be upheld online. It is a good idea to have this document looked over by a legal expert who can ensure the information is thorough and accurate. Include this form in the new employee onboarding process and when taking on a new marketing company.

Designating a content writer

Allowing multiple individuals to post for your medical practice increases the chance of an accidental HIPAA violation. Choose one person in your practice to be responsible for posting social media content or work with a marketing company that you trust and is familiar with HIPAA rules.

Stay compliant and reach your target audience

While staying HIPAA compliant should be a priority for your medical practice, it does not need to be a stressful process. Our knowledgeable team at Doctor Genius ensures your content is high quality without evading your patient’s privacy. Call us at 877-477-2311 to get started on a marketing strategy today. Learn how we can help you take your content to the next level.

Doctor Genius, located at 16800 Aston Street, Suite 270, Irvine, CA 92606, provides a range of services for practice success. We seek to meet our clients’ needs by providing a variety of marketing, SEO, practice optimization tools, and coaching to transform the healthcare experience. Though we work to provide the most accurate information, the content found on this website is solely intended for entertainment purposes. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is entirely correct. You may not use the information on this site to cure, prevent, or diagnose a perceived medical issue. If you have healthcare-related needs, please speak directly to a healthcare professional. Never self-perform medical treatments discussed on this website. All images displayed are also for entertainment purposes only, and personal experiences may differ. Please note that the business tactics mentioned on this site might not be applicable to your industry or practice.