Is Doctible HIPAA compliant?

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Is Doctible HIPAA Compliant? - Paubox

Doctible has been mentioned on calls with our customers recently, so we decided to dig into the details of its HIPAA compliance.

Although the company markets directly to the healthcare industry, there are some important caveats in the fine print about how you are allowed to use the product that providers should keep in mind.

About Doctible

Doctible offers products for engaging patients and automating the back-office workflow.

It leverages text and email to help collect payments, schedule appointments, send patient reminders, and more.

Doctible and the business associate agreement

A business associate agreement (BAA) is a written contract between a covered entity and a business associate. It is required by law for HIPAA compliance.

Not surprisingly since it is focused on the healthcare industry, Doctible will sign a BAA.

On its HIPAA information page, the company states:


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was established to govern the security of the data and the confidentiality of patient health information. As per these regulations, your practice is established as a “Covered Entity” and regulates how you use and share any PHI (protected health information) and along with the HITECH Act controls with whom you can share such information. Thus, under these rules, you are a covered entity and Doctible would be classified as a business associate.

Upon joining Doctible, every practice is required to sign a ‘ Business Associate Agreement (BAA).


Doctible and marketing

HIPAA defines marketing as “a communication about a product or service that encourages recipients of the communication to purchase or use the product or service.”  In general, HIPAA requires written authorization before a covered entity can use PHI for marketing purposes. 

However, there are many types of communication that HIPAA does not consider marketing and which therefore do not require prior authorization to discuss with patients. 

SEE ALSO: HIPAA Definition of Marketing Explained

On its HIPAA information page, Doctible says that the company “does not engage in any communications that would be classified as ‘marketing’ which requires prior authorization from patients.”

However, the information provided about Doctible’s email campaigns seems to tell a different story.  The website says you can use email campaigns to “organically promote your business” by “sending practice updates, newsletters, and seasonal messages . . . to promote your practice in a fun and organic fashion.”

It also says you can engage with patients “to announce specials, emergency closures, create newsletters and more!”

This seems like a contradiction.  Promoting a business and announcing specials would encourage patients to purchase a product, so it seems like this would clearly fall under HIPAA’s definition of marketing (or anyone’s, for that matter).

Is Doctible HIPAA compliant?

The business associate agreement is a key component to HIPAA compliance, and Doctible requires every customer to sign one.

However, although the platform states that providers cannot use its products to market their businesses, the example use-cases it provides for the campaigns feature seems to tell a different story.

Conclusion

Doctible is HIPAA compliant, but it is unclear how healthcare providers are allowed to use it.

HIPAA email marketing tools comparison

To meet the unmet need for HIPAA compliant email marketing, we created Paubox Marketing. It is the only solution that will:

  • 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.

SEE ALSO: Why Paubox Marketing is the Best HIPAA Email Marketing Solution Available

Company Will they sign a BAA? Can you send PHI?
Adobe Campaign NO NO
Campaign Monitor NO NO
Campaigner NO NO
GetResponse NO NO
Hubspot NO NO
L-Soft NO NO
Mad Mimi (GoDaddy) NO NO
Mailchimp NO NO
MailerLite NO NO
Marketo (Adobe) NO NO
Salesforce Pardot NO NO
Schedulicity NO NO
SendGrid (Twilio) NO NO
Yesware NO NO
ActiveCampaign YES NO
Constant Contact YES NO
Infusionsoft by Keap YES NO
Salesforce Marketing Cloud YES NO
Eloqua (Oracle) YES YES **
Paubox Marketing 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.)

Try Paubox Marketing for free and make your email marketing HIPAA compliant today.
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Chloe Bowen

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