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HIPAA Compliance and Social Media: Navigating Patient Privacy

01 June, 2018

The intersection of social media and healthcare offers a unique avenue for healthcare providers to engage patients and disseminate crucial information. While social media platforms can serve as effective tools for strengthening doctor-patient relationships and raising health awareness, healthcare professionals must remain vigilant about safeguarding patient information in this digital landscape.

Social media platforms boast an extensive user base, with over 40% of healthcare professionals utilizing these platforms to establish and expand their professional network. Capitalizing on social media’s potential, such as Facebook, can yield substantial benefits. These platforms facilitate the dissemination of notifications regarding new services and critical health updates. Employing Facebook advertising enables the targeted communication of specific health benefits to distinct groups, such as mothers of children within a particular age range in a designated geographical region, effectively notifying them about vaccinations.

For healthcare practitioners seeking to leverage such capabilities, our services extend to advanced professional Facebook advertising tailored to your practice’s unique requirements.

Navigating HIPAA Compliance on Social Media:
Healthcare providers must adhere to HIPAA regulations when engaging on social media platforms. HIPAA considers the unauthorized use or disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) a violation. Common violations include:

  1. Sharing images with visible patient information in the background, even inadvertently
  2. Disclosing any form of PHI without the patient’s explicit written consent
  3. Sharing patient-related gossip or information with unauthorized parties, irrespective of mentioning the patient’s name

The Cost of HIPAA Violations
Compliance with HIPAA is paramount for healthcare professionals. Violations can lead to significant consequences, with fines ranging from $100 to $1,500,000 for the practitioner and the practice. Depending on the severity, violators might face legal action, job termination, a decade of imprisonment, and the revocation of medical licenses.

Preventing Violations:
Establishing a culture of HIPAA compliance requires ongoing training for employees. Topics such as HIPAA security, privacy procedures, computer and mobile device security, and personal device usage in the workplace should be addressed during employee onboarding. Such measures are pivotal in ensuring compliance and safeguarding patient information, whether oral, written, or electronic.

Are you part of the healthcare industry, seeking assistance in managing IT and privacy concerns, or interested in professional Facebook marketing? Feel free to contact us today. We are dedicated to helping you navigate these intricacies and maintain the highest standards of patient privacy and security.

01 June, 2018