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Are you struggling to implement you struggling to implement an efficient HIPAA-compliant healthcare advertising and marketing technique? You’re not alone. It’s the broad regulatory minefield – akin to HIPAA-compliant affected person knowledge safety – that has induced the healthcare business to lag behind different industries which are rapidly adapting to fashionable digital advertising and marketing methods.

Quite than navigating these complexities, many healthcare organizations persist with conventional advertising and marketing channels like TV, radio, and print adverts, dropping out on the digital alternative to ship their advertising and marketing message on to the suitable particular person. Others make the error of utilizing out-of-the-box advertising and marketing software program, which may result in HIPAA compliance points.

It’s quite a bit to contemplate. That’s why we’ve compiled this Healthcare Marketer’s Information to Navigating HIPAA compliance.

Please be aware: This text isn’t meant to supply authorized recommendation and shouldn’t be relied upon for such functions. Organizations topic to HIPAA limitations ought to at all times seek the advice of with their authorized groups to evaluate the dangers related to any of the instruments or techniques talked about right here.

Table of Contents

  • What Is HIPAA Compliance And Why Is It So Important?
  • What Is Protected Health Information (PHI)?
  • How Does HIPAA Compliance Affect Your Marketing Campaigns?
  • Why Your Healthcare Clients Need HIPAA-Compliant Software
  • Implementing A HIPAA-Compliant Healthcare Marketing Strategy
  • Digital Marketing Tools For HIPAA-Compliant Marketers
  • The Dos And Don’ts Of HIPAA Compliance
  • Start Implementing HIPAA Compliance Today
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What Is HIPAA Compliance and Why Is It So Vital?

HIPAA stands for the Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act, which was handed in 1996. It dictates how healthcare business organizations could lawfully retailer, share, handle, and document sufferers’ protected well being data (PHI).

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies HIPAA Privateness Rule states that any group that gives healthcare therapies, fee administration, or operations is taken into account a HIPAA “lined entity” — as are their “enterprise associates.” HIPAA defines a enterprise affiliate as any particular person or entity that gives companies to a lined entity that requires the disclosure of protected well being data (PHI). Meaning software program firms that retailer, share, or have entry to PHI have to be HIPAA-compliant — or lose healthcare purchasers.

In a nutshell, HIPAA merely requires that you simply:

  • Put safeguards in place to guard affected person well being data
  • Moderately restrict makes use of and sharing to the minimal obligatory to perform your meant function
  • Have agreements in place with any service suppliers that carry out lined capabilities or actions for you
  • Have procedures in place to restrict who can entry affected person well being data, and implement a coaching program for you and your staff about the right way to defend your affected person well being data

What Is Protected Well being Info (PHI)?

Protected well being data (PHI) is well being data contained in any bodily document, together with well being histories (diagnoses and coverings), lab take a look at outcomes, and medical payments. PHI that’s created, saved, or transmitted electronically is named ePHI.

The HIPAA Journal defines PHI as “individually identifiable data regarding the previous, current, or future well being standing of a person that’s created, collected, transmitted, or maintained by a HIPAA-covered entity in relation to the availability of healthcare, fee for healthcare companies, or use in healthcare operations.”

Protected well being data consists of a number of of the next identifiers:

  • Full title or final title and preliminary and gender
  • Geographical identifiers smaller than a state
  • Dates (apart from yr) immediately associated to a person
  • Cellphone numbers (of affected person and emergency contact)
  • Fax numbers
  • E-mail addresses
  • Social Safety numbers
  • Medical document numbers
  • Medical insurance beneficiary numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Certificates/license numbers
  • Automobile identifiers (serial numbers and license plate numbers)
  • Machine identifiers and serial numbers
  • Net uniform useful resource locators (URLs)
  • Web protocol (IP) tackle numbers
  • Biometric identifiers (finger, retinal and voice prints)
  • Full-face pictures
  • Some other distinctive figuring out quantity or code (besides the distinctive code assigned by the investigator to code the info)

As soon as these identifiers are eliminated, the knowledge is taken into account de-identified and isn’t topic to the restrictions of the HIPAA Privateness Rule.

What Info Is Not Thought-about PHI?

The Division of Well being and Human Companies additionally outline what isn’t thought-about PHI:

  • Communication a couple of health-related service or product that’s offered by or included in a plan of advantages of the lined entity (CE) making the communication. For instance, CEs are allowed to tell purchasers {that a} new therapy or facility is coming quickly.
  • Communication that’s a part of a therapy plan — prescription refill reminder or a lab take a look at referral — isn’t thought-about advertising and marketing and doesn’t require sufferers’ approval.
  • Communication that’s a part of care coordination, like an alternate supplier or therapy advice, isn’t thought-about advertising and marketing.

How Does HIPAA Compliance Have an effect on Your Advertising Campaigns?

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies’ HIPAA Privateness Rule defines advertising and marketing as:

  • “… a communication a couple of services or products that encourages recipients of the communication to buy or use the services or products.”
  • “… an association between a lined entity and every other entity whereby the lined entity discloses PHI to the opposite entity, in alternate for direct or oblique remuneration, for the opposite entity or its affiliate to make a communication about its personal services or products that encourages recipients to buy or use that services or products.” There are not any exceptions to this second half.

For instance, if a affected person is on Warfarin and a reminder is distributed to the affected person to refill the prescription, it’s not thought-about advertising and marketing and doesn’t require a launch by the affected person so long as the pharma firm doesn’t pay for the communication.

Nonetheless, if Bristol Meyers Squibb desires that affected person to strive its new anticoagulant, Eliquis, the affected person would want to signal an authorization permitting advertising and marketing communication to be despatched.

You’ll must acquire a affected person’s written authorization earlier than utilizing or disclosing PHI for advertising and marketing functions or on the market to a 3rd get together. This implies utilizing opt-in electronic mail seize varieties and never “assuming” it’s okay to market to a affected person simply because you could have their electronic mail tackle on file.

Additionally, any healthcare supplier you do advertising and marketing for (a lined entity) can not promote PHI to a enterprise affiliate or a 3rd get together for use for that get together’s personal self-interest with out expressed authorization from every affected person. You could find a full checklist of obligatory authorizations right here: 45 CFR 164.508.

Why Your Healthcare Shoppers Want HIPAA-Compliant Software program

In line with the HIPAA Journal, the aim of HIPAA compliance software program is to information HIPAA-covered entities or enterprise associates to develop into and stay HIPAA-compliant whereas following the HITECH Act Guidelines. Compliant software program additionally helps firms doc all good-faith efforts to conform.

That is to guard a healthcare firm that could be audited by the HHS’ Workplace for Civil Rights (OCR) or state attorneys basic over a knowledge breach. The software program additionally helps practice workers and implement technical, bodily, and administrative safeguards. Investing in HIPAA-compliant software program is vital to your healthcare group, as even small offenses can result in fines anyplace from $100 to $50,000. In 2020 alone, healthcare firms paid as a lot as $4.3 million in HIPAA penalties.

Implementing a HIPAA-Compliant Healthcare Advertising Technique

Though healthcare advertising and marketing tech lags behind that of different industries, sufferers nonetheless anticipate dynamic digital experiences. A CDW Company Healthcare survey discovered that 89% of sufferers need easy, seamless entry to their private well being information. And 98% are comfy speaking with suppliers digitally — through texting, cellular apps, on-line chats, or dwell video.

No matter your healthcare digital advertising and marketing technique kind, there are steps you’ll be able to take to attenuate your danger of a HIPAA compliance breach.

First: Reduce your danger of a HIPAA compliance breach

Develop a PHI use coverage that features SOPs for:

  • Coaching your advertising and marketing departments commonly to ensure they perceive HIPAA necessities
  • Clarifying who has entry to PHI and for what function, then monitoring it commonly
  • Documenting your advertising and marketing campaigns with clear reasoning for why PHI is included
  • Making certain there’s a clear approach for sufferers to choose in and choose out of receiving advertising and marketing communication
  • Monitoring the implementation of the coverage

If you wish to market to any affected person utilizing knowledge from their PHI, you could safe their authorization. This implies offering easy-to-use opt-in electronic mail seize varieties to verify {that a} affected person approves your use of their electronic mail tackle to ship communications and promotions.

To ship a compelling HIPAA-compliant digital expertise, comply with these methods:

Implement HIPAA Compliance for E-mail Advertising

E-mail advertising and marketing continues to be one the best methods to spice up your healthcare advertising and marketing ROI. In reality, in line with a HubSpot survey, electronic mail advertising and marketing campaigns generate $38 for each greenback spent — that’s a 3,800% ROI.

The Federal Commerce Fee’s (FTC) Bureau of Client Safety offers a CAN-SPAM Act compliance information for electronic mail entrepreneurs to comply with when implementing campaigns.

  • Make it simple to your electronic mail recipients to unsubscribe
  • Embrace a mailing tackle the place they’ll write to you
  • Determine the enterprise that’s sending the e-mail within the electronic mail’s “from,” “reply to,” and “routing data” sections
  • Clarify the e-mail’s content material within the topic line
  • Clearly and conspicuously determine your message as an commercial
  • Don’t create any emails utilizing PHI with out expressed consent from sufferers
  • Encrypt each electronic mail that incorporates any kind of PHI (together with title or electronic mail tackle) to make sure solely you and the recipient have entry to the content material
  • Be certain that servers storing electronic mail knowledge with PHI are additionally encrypted with off-site backup

Implement HIPAA Compliance for Social Media

Social media helps have interaction sufferers in their very own care by rapidly speaking vital details about companies, take a look at outcomes, and the newest situation and therapy analysis. Statistics reported by Pew Analysis Heart present that roughly 72% of web customers search healthcare data on-line, typically on social media.

Comply with the following pointers to make sure your social media technique follows HIPAA compliance:

  • Don’t share social posts or adverts that function PHI with out getting expressed consent
  • Make certain workers members aren’t posting apply pictures and by accident sharing PHI; to be protected, use inventory images
  • Create a social media technique that paperwork what crew members can and can’t publish, then comply with up with coaching classes to make sure HIPAA compliance
  • Arrange controls to flag any key phrases or phrases that may point out a HIPAA compliance breach earlier than posting

Implement HIPAA Compliance for Web sites

Your web site is the muse of your healthcare advertising and marketing technique — be sure it’s safe and user-friendly. To stay nimble within the web’s ever-changing panorama, the language round HIPAA laws for web sites is commonly deliberately obscure.

FullMedia recommends following the following pointers for guaranteeing HIPAA compliance in your web site:

  • Retailer all internet varieties, contact varieties, and appointment knowledge on an encrypted server with off-site backup
  • Buy and implement an SSL certificates to your web site
  • Guarantee all internet varieties in your web site are encrypted and safe
  • Solely ship emails containing PHI by way of encrypted electronic mail servers
  • Companion with web-hosting firms which are HIPAA-compliant
  • Signal a BAA with third events which have entry to your sufferers’ PHI
  • Be certain that PHI is simply accessible to approved people
  • Set up processes to delete, backup, and restore PHI as wanted
  • Put up a HIPAA privateness coverage in your web site
  • Appoint a HIPAA compliance officer to observe and preserve your coverage

Digital Advertising Instruments for HIPAA-Compliant Entrepreneurs

There are such a lot of healthcare advertising and marketing platforms to select from that it could be fairly time-consuming to verify HIPAA compliance for each you’re contemplating. That’s why we’ve compiled a listing of examined software program that can assist improve your healthcare advertising and marketing technique.

HIPAA-Compliant Analytics and Reporting Instruments

Although there are different strong platforms to select from, Google Analytics is the one healthcare business professionals nonetheless depend upon. When utilizing the software “out of the field,” you’ll want to change it to satisfy HIPAA compliance and guarantee no unauthorized PHI is being collected. When your web site site visitors hits a chosen degree, you’ll wish to keep away from accumulating “sampled” knowledge by upgrading to Google Analytics 360, which would require you to re-modify for HIPAA compliance.

Earlier than you push knowledge out of your varied sources right into a enterprise intelligence software, strive combining them in Google’s Massive Question. That is an easy-to-use answer that permits you to be a part of, scrub, and normalize your knowledge in order that while you import it right into a enterprise intelligence software like Energy BI, you’ll be able to instantly start visualizing and analyzing it.

Amazon Redshift is the same “knowledge warehouse” kind software like BigQuery. Although it’s not HIPAA-compliant out of the field, it’s HIPAA-compliance eligible, which suggests you’ll must configure it for healthcare business laws. You’ll must overview person permissions and preserve a log of everybody who accesses it to make sure that all knowledge is saved and encrypted correctly.

For those who’re in search of a knowledge storage and reporting software, take into account Energy BI, Microsoft’s HIPAA-compliant enterprise intelligence software program which is included within the value of Microsoft’s 365 Enterprise Suite.

HIPAA-Compliant Advertising Automation Instruments

Utilizing software program to nurture gross sales leads and personalize advertising and marketing content material will prevent time and power. You’ll must spend money on a HIPAA-compliant advertising and marketing automation system that permits you to retailer PHI in a compliant method so you’ll be able to personalize your advertising and marketing automation campaigns (newsletters, emails, new service bulletins) to your personas’ wants and habits.
Search for a advertising and marketing automation software that permits seamless engagement throughout audiences, customized conversations, efficiency insights to direct your spend, and naturally, HIPAA compliance to maintain all PHI knowledge safe. These platforms all match the invoice:

  • Affected person Pop
  • Keap
  • Affected person Achieve
  • Marketo Have interaction
  • Lively Marketing campaign (enterprise bundle solely)

HIPAA-Compliant Web site Instruments

Your web site will want an appointment administration platform, a healthcare-specific scheduling software with a easy person interface, and affected person acquisition monitoring (monitoring marketing campaign conversions with Google Analytics tags is useful).

To trace kind submissions, you’ll be able to implement CallRail, a submission software that tracks your calls and emails in the identical interface. The FormStack software offers healthcare-specific templates to arrange varieties for lead era, affected person acquisition, or gear ordering. You can even acquire affected person data by way of Jotform’s HIPAA-compliant varieties.

To optimize your person expertise, take into account Visible Web site Optimizer (VWO), which could be configured to be HIPAA-compliant. VWO options detailed directions for gathering qualitative knowledge about your guests’ web site use and allows you to run A/B checks to enhance your conversion charges.

For those who’re growing purposes, True Vault is an app-developer-friendly answer to HIPAA compliance. The platform combines a safe and compliant healthcare API and knowledge storage to attach, energy, and safe healthcare apps, assembly the technical and bodily safeguards mandated by HIPAA.

HIPAA-Compliant CRM Instruments

After doing loads of analysis and testing, has compiled this checklist of among the finest HIPAA-compliant CRM software program in the marketplace:

  • Salesforce Well being Cloud — finest healthcare CRM software program total
  • Zendesk — finest healthcare CRM answer software program for customer support
  • Onpipeline — prime medical CRM software program for affected person acquisition
  • Leadsquared — finest HIPAA-compliant CRM software program
  • IMS —good physician CRM instruments for EHR administration
  • OperaDDS — prime CRM software program for dentists
  • PatientPop — good healthcare CRM answer for electronic mail automation
  • HIPAA CRM — good cloud-based healthcare CRM for HIPAA compliance
  • Healthgrades — prime healthcare CRM contact heart answer
  • PlayMaker Well being — prime healthcare CRM for enterprise intelligence
  • Enquire’s CRM — faucets into Microsoft’s spectacular safety knowledge

Constructed particularly for HIPAA compliance, MedChat is one other chatting and messaging software that leverages AI and machine studying to optimize two-way texting, web site chatting, and automatic appointment reminders.

HIPAA-Compliant Social Media Techniques

HIPAA prohibits the usage of PHI on social media networks — together with textual content about sufferers in addition to photographs or movies that might determine the affected person — except they’ve given consent in writing. In case your healthcare advertising and marketing concepts embody Google and Fb advert campaigns, don’t anticipate these platforms to guard PHI.

Fb, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yelp usually are not HIPAA-compliant as a result of they won’t signal a enterprise affiliate settlement (BAA) with lined entities. Nonetheless, you might be able to use the platforms in a HIPAA-compliant method when extra disclosures and privateness instruments are carried out.

For instance, the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies dominated in 2018 that their use of the Fb pixel, together with for the needs of retargeting, was totally compliant with all PHI laws by offering customers with the flexibility to opt-out. CMS is a division of the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies, which serves because the unofficial regulator for HIPAA enforcement.

In 2020, each Apple and Google introduced vital updates to their platforms that will restrict advertisers’ skill to trace customers throughout web sites and gadgets. As these modifications go dwell, we anticipate to be taught extra about how they could assist defend PHI. Till then, with out these stringent safety measures and specific, written permission from customers, the usage of pixels from Fb and different third-party suppliers is dangerous for anybody topic to HIPAA compliance. Any suppliers who wish to use these instruments ought to work with an legal professional specializing in HIPAA compliance to precisely assess their dangers and limitations.

HIPAA Compliance E-mail Advertising Instruments

So long as you abide by the CAN-SPAM Act, acquire prior authorization from sufferers, and leverage a HIPAA-compliant platform, you should use electronic mail advertising and marketing to develop your corporation and enhance affected person outcomes. The one electronic mail system that options HIPAA compliance is Paubox.

Paubox Advertising permits recipients to view advertising and marketing emails like common emails with out counting on out-dated portal notifications that are horrible for the recipient. You should use it to section and ship safe electronic mail (together with PHI) to extend engagement and construct your corporation whereas remaining HIPAA-compliant.

Paubox recommends that earlier than you add a brand new title to your subscriber checklist:

  • Ask your sufferers for written authorization to obtain advertising and marketing emails
  • Remind them why they initially opted-in (for care coordination, to get refill reminders, promotional presents or low cost coupons, or to get information about your apply
  • Supply an easy-to-use unsubscribe possibility

For affected person polling and persona analysis, strive utilizing the intuitive and HIPAA-compliant SurveyMonkey. It can assist you to ship questionnaires or surveys to sufferers or prospects and acquire knowledge. is a sturdy software for managing location listings, on-line evaluations, and social media. This platform manages your location and doctor profiles, updates and pushes out modifications to bios, secures affected person evaluations, and manages your social media — all with HIPAA compliance assist.

The Dos and Don’ts of HIPAA Compliance

Earlier than creating and executing your advertising and marketing plan, make sure you’re abiding by these tips.


  • Share basic details about the therapies you present and any healthcare information that sufferers might use to draw new leads
  • Share new certifications {and professional} honors your care crew has earned
  • Get your sufferers’ permission earlier than inserting them on an electronic mail checklist that can require disclosure of or reference to their PHI
  • Work with a healthcare advertising and marketing company that’s versed in HIPAA compliance
  • Verify all of your advertising and marketing and social media marketing campaign photographs to make sure that they don’t include PHI to forestall fines


  • Point out any affected person by title or disclose any figuring out data in your campaigns
  • Enable your workers to take images inside your workplace that might reveal or expose PHI — even laptop displays that could be displaying it within the background
  • Acquire patient-specific data on social media websites — they aren’t encrypted or arrange for HIPAA compliance
  • Work with non-HIPAA-compliant advertising and marketing firms or distributors
  • Describe particular sufferers on social media — even in the event you change their names
  • Ship your sufferers emails regarding their PHI with out their categorical written permission — even encrypted emails could be intercepted

For extra strong safety, the HIPAA Journal affords this compliance guidelines:

  1. Decide which annual audits and assessments are relevant to your group
  2. Conduct the required audits and assessments and doc any deficiencies
  3. Implement your remediation plans and replace yearly
  4. Appoint a HIPAA Compliance, Privateness and/or Safety Officer
  5. Conduct and doc annual HIPAA coaching for all crew members
  6. Carry out due diligence on enterprise associates yearly
  7. Evaluation processes for reporting breaches to Well being and Human Companies

Maintain your workers skilled on the right way to lawfully entry and use affected person PHI in addition to the right way to discover third-party distributors who excel at HIPAA compliance training.

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