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FAQs: All about HIPAA email marketing

FAQs: All about HIPAA email marketing

HIPAA email marketing refers to using email communication for marketing purposes while adhering to the regulations outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA sets standards for protecting sensitive patient health information (PHI) and requires healthcare organizations to safeguard this data's confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Compared to other industries, healthcare-related email campaigns have an average open rate of 41.23%, with Tuesdays yielding better receptivity rates among readers. The factors that affect the open rate include industry type, target audience, content relevance, and sender reputation. To assess the success of an email campaign, click-through and conversion rates must be considered. 

Go deeper5 email marketing stats for healthcare providers



Is it legal to send marketing emails to individuals covered by HIPAA regulations?

Sending marketing emails to individuals covered by HIPAA regulations is not inherently illegal, but it must be done in compliance with HIPAA rules to ensure the protection of patients' sensitive health information. HIPAA sets strict standards for the use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI), including in marketing communications.

Read moreThe rules for PHI in healthcare email marketing


Can healthcare organizations use email marketing to collect feedback or conduct surveys from patients?

Yes, healthcare organizations can use email marketing to collect feedback or conduct surveys from patients, but they must do so in compliance with HIPAA regulations to ensure the protection of patient privacy and confidentiality.

Go deeperHIPAA compliant email marketing: What you need to know


What are common email marketing use cases for healthcare?

Email offers a means of communicating with patients. The various ways healthcare marketers can utilize email include:

  • Involving patients in their healthcare journey
  • Educating patients about their healthcare conditions and therapies
  • Improving attendance and scheduling
  • Keeping patients in the healthcare system
  • Enhancing preventive measures
  • Collecting information regarding the experience of a patient
  • Improving patient satisfaction


Must an unsubscribe option be included in marketing emails?

Anti-spam regulations, such as the CAN-SPAM Act, require a simple and straightforward unsubscribe option in all healthcare marketing emails. This process should be hassle-free.


What is the marketing rule exception to HIPAA?

Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, communications that describe a health-related product or service offered by, or included in the benefits plan of, a covered entity are not considered "marketing".


Do generic practice newsletters need to be protected?

While generic newsletters may not typically contain specific patient information, there's always a possibility that they could inadvertently include PHI, such as discussing certain medical conditions, treatments, or procedures in a way that could identify a patient. Therefore, healthcare organizations must ensure that any newsletters, whether generic or targeted, are handled in compliance with HIPAA regulations to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. 


What are HIPAA's consent requirements for email marketing?

HIPAA's consent requirements for email marketing are primarily guided by the Privacy Rule, which sets standards for the use and disclosure of PHI. When it comes to email marketing, HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to obtain explicit consent from patients before using their PHI for marketing purposes. 

Learn moreThe elements of patient consent for email marketing


What are the guidelines for subject line content in healthcare marketing emails under HIPAA?

HIPAA does not specifically outline guidelines for subject line content in healthcare marketing emails. However, it's essential to ensure that subject lines do not disclose PHI or violate patient privacy. Subject lines should be general and avoid referencing specific medical conditions or treatments that could potentially identify a patient. Instead, focus on promoting services, general health tips, or upcoming events in a way that respects patient confidentiality.

RelatedIs a subject line PHI?


Do disease management, health promotion, preventive care, and wellness programs fall under the HIPAA Privacy Rule's definition of "marketing"?

If the covered entity or a business associate manages disease management or wellness programs, any communications regarding these services are not considered marketing as they relate to the covered entity's health-related services.


Are communications to beneficiaries about government programs marketing under HIPAA?

Communications about the government and its sponsored programs are not considered marketing. Since there is no commercial aspect involved in describing the benefits of public schemes, covered entities can disclose PHI for discussing eligibility criteria regarding Medicare, Medicaid, or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

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