2 min read
Marketing is necessary for the continued success of any business, and that includes healthcare providers. However, medical professionals cannot market in the same way other industries can. Why? Because of HIPAA. The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records. It restricts the way that covered entities can use and share protected health information ( PHI). Thankfully, there are many marketing channels that you can use in a HIPAA compliant manner to help grow your brand and market your healthcare practice. Here is an overview of HIPAA compliant marketing channels and solutions you should try in 2020. But first, let’s discuss the challenges of healthcare marketing in general.
Why is healthcare marketing so difficult?
To excel in healthcare marketing is to comprehend HIPAA compliance. You must fully understand how HIPAA defines marketing and choose your strategies—and solutions—from there. HIPAA outlines specific standards for healthcare industry communication. Providers must take extra precautions to secure and safeguard PHI and other confidential details about patients. That’s why HIPAA compliance should be the foundation of your marketing plan. Keep in mind that many popular marketing, email, and social media platforms are not HIPAA compliant. Healthcare providers must take care to only partner with business associates that offer HIPAA compliant marketing solutions and will sign a business associate agreement (BAA).
Ensure your website is HIPAA compliant
To begin building a modern healthcare strategy , start with your website. Websites are a powerful marketing opportunity because you can explain your value proposition, attract new patients to your practice , and encourage patients to take action. However, a non-HIPAA compliant website can hurt your credibility, and even worse—it could lead to a $25,000 HIPAA fine . You need to take reasonable steps to ensure there are technical, physical, and administrative safeguards to keep PHI secure. For websites, this means any time PHI is transmitted or stored, such as when visitors make appointments, contact you, or ask questions. For details about how to make sure you have a HIPAA compliant website, read our post on the topic here.
HIPAA compliant email marketingThe next marketing solution to try in 2020 is email marketing, with HIPAA compliance of course. Email is an effective marketing tool for nearly every industry. From a return on investment (ROI) perspective, the industry standard for email marketing is about $42 for every dollar spent.
From a usage standpoint, half of all people on the planet use email and 59% of consumers say email marketing influences their decision to purchase. Individualized messages perform up to three times better than generic blast emails. By tailoring your messaging to a specific patient, you can obtain 5 to 8 times more ROI for your marketing spend. The only way to guarantee HIPAA compliance with your email marketing is to use a HIPAA compliant solution such as Paubox Marketing. The platform allows you segment your contacts and send personalized email marketing campaigns to your patients and community which include PHI directly to recipients' email boxes—no passwords or portals required. This is important because many popular platforms (such as MailChimp or Hubspot for example ) are not HIPAA compliant. In contrast, Paubox signs a BAA with every customer (for free), and Paubox Marketing is HITRUST CSF certified, for an added level of security.
HIPAA-safe social media
Social media can be a dangerous place for healthcare providers. Social networks are experts at collecting information including private data that are considered PHI. As a general rule, never share anything on social media that you wouldn’t share with a stranger in person. SEE ALSO: Social Media for Healthcare Professionals – What to Watch For Use extreme caution when using all social media platforms. This includes Facebook Pixel and Instagram for example, both of which are not HIPAA compliant. There are however ways to use a Facebook account in a HIPAA compliant manner, which you read about in our post on the topic here. In conclusion, the healthcare industry is one of the most complicated industries for marketing. Understanding HIPAA compliance while planning your marketing strategy is essential to be successful and to protect your business.
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