We've been seeing more vendors, customers, and prospects asking about HIPAA compliant email marketing services. Since Paubox is a business associate to thousands of customers, we’ve been wondering if they are able to use Salesforce Pardot in a HIPAA compliant manner.
We know the HIPAA industry is vast, so we can empathize with just how many people need to use cloud services in this sector.
Today we will determine if Salesforce Pardot offers HIPAA compliant email for marketing or not.
Pardot is a B2B marketing automation solution owned by Salesforce.
What is a business associate?
A business associate is a person or company that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information (PHI) for a covered entity. In a nutshell, the role of a business associate is to help covered entities comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
Since Pardot is a cloud-based service, if it stores PHI on behalf of a covered entity, it is certainly considered a business associate. According to HIPAA, even just a name is PHI if it is in any way associated with a healthcare provider—such as in a marketing email coming from your practice.
Business associate agreement provisions
If a business associate provides services to a covered entity, then a business associate agreement (BAA) must be in place. A BAA is a written contract between a covered entity and a business associate and is required by law for HIPAA compliance.
Salesforce Pardot and the business associate agreement
We checked the Salesforce site for mention of its ability to sign a BAA. We found the answer we were looking for on the Salesforce HIPAA Compliance page. We see the following Salesforce solutions are HIPAA compliant:
- Community Cloud
- Einstein Analytics
- Einstein Analytics - Einstein Discovery
- Health Cloud
- Marketing Cloud - ExactTarget
- Other Lightning Platform Services
- Sales Cloud
- Service Cloud
In other words, Pardot is not among the Salesforce solutions that are covered by its BAA. Furthermore, we also found a document called Pardot Security, Privacy and Architecture. On page five, we found the following section:
Sensitive DataImportant: The following types of sensitive personal data may not be submitted to the Pardot Services: birthdates, government- issued identification numbers; financial information (such as credit or debit card numbers, any related security codes or passwords, and bank account numbers); information related to an individual’s physical or mental health; and information related to the provision or payment of health care.
Does Salesforce Pardot offer HIPAA Compliant Service?
The BAA is a key component to HIPAA compliance between a covered entity and a business associate. We were able to learn the following about Salesforce Pardot and its stance on HIPAA compliance:
- Salesforce Pardot is not covered by Salesforce's BAA.
- Salesforce Pardot does not allow sensitive personal data and healthcare data (e.g. PHI) to be stored on its platform.
Conclusion: Salesforce Pardot is not HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA email marketing tools comparison
- Sign a BAA
- Provide military-grade encryption
- Allow you to include PHI in your marketing emails
- Allow patients to read your emails directly from their inbox with no extra steps
In addition, Paubox Marketing is HITRUST CSF certified. Compared to the standard marketing tools, Paubox Marketing is the best option for maintaining HIPAA compliance while harnessing the power of personalized email marketing.
|Company||Will they sign a BAA?||Can you send PHI?|
|Blue Orchid Marketing||NO||NO|
|Mad Mimi (GoDaddy)||NO||NO|
|Infusionsoft by Keap||YES||NO|
|Salesforce Marketing Cloud||YES||NO|
|Eloqua (Oracle)||YES||YES **|
(** To use Oracle Eloqua in a HIPAA compliant manner, recipients receive two emails for every message you send. Patients must also log into a secure message center to view your message— it does not appear in their inboxes. This creates friction and makes it less likely that your patients will read your marketing email.)