HIPAA Marketing Tips for Behavioral Health Professionals
When it comes to HIPAA, marketing your behavioral health practice can be tricky.
HIPAA marketing standards specifically dictate the kind of information that can and can’t be used in marketing efforts of all kind.
HIPAA marketing restrictions are outlined within the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The HIPAA Privacy Rule sets national standards for health care providers in order to maintain the privacy of patients’ protected health information (PHI). PHI is any demographic information that can be used to identify a patient. Common examples of PHI include names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, full facial photos, medical information, Social Security numbers, and insurance ID numbers, to name a few.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule must be followed by all covered entities–defined in the HIPAA rules as health care providers, health insurance plans, and health care clearinghouses.
Conducting marketing efforts for your behavioral health practice is quickly becoming one of the fastest and simplest ways to increase engagement with the patients you already have and attract new ones.
But how do behavioral health professionals successfully market their practice without violating HIPAA marketing standards?
Marketing Without the HIPAA Violations
There are several key components of HIPAA regulation that your practice should be aware of before you begin a new marketing campaign. Keep these following points in mind in order to better protect PHI as you develop your marketing plans.
- Before ANY PHI is used in marketing efforts, behavioral health practitioners must obtain express written authorization from their patients. Most of the time, uses and disclosure forms will be signed in a patient’s registration forms. However, authorized uses and disclosures for the purpose of medical treatment do not apply for marketing efforts as well. In order to use PHI in marketing materials, practitioners must obtain explicit authorization for the use of PHI in said materials.
- Any PHI, such as names, emails, and phone numbers, collected through contact forms on your website must be stored on a secure server. Servers must be encrypted with off-site back-up in order to ensure the privacy and integrity of information that has been gathered.
- Before sending any emails to patients as part of an email marketing campaign, you must obtain authorization. And if you do obtain authorization to send emails, you must ensure that the emails you send are end-to-end encrypted. End-to-end encryption ensures that only the sender and recipient of the email are able to view the contents, excluding any “middle man” such as an email server.
- Social media policies and procedures must be in place with proper employee training. If your practice decides to use social media to reach new clients, ensure that no PHI is included in your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn posts. Employees’ use of social media should also be managed via HIPAA Social Media training. You can find out more about HIPAA and Social Media at this upcoming TBHI webinar!
Compliancy Group gives behavioral health professionals confidence in their HIPAA compliance with The Guard®. The Guard is a web-based HIPAA compliance solution, built by former auditors to help simplify compliance.
Compliancy Group’s team of expert Compliance Coaches® field questions and guide users through the implementation process, taking the stress out of managing compliance. The Guard is built to address the full extent of HIPAA regulation, including full HIPAA authorizations for uses and disclosures.
With The Guard, behavioral health professionals can focus on running their practice while keeping their patients’ data protected and secure.
Find out more about how Compliancy Group and the HIPAA Seal of Compliance® can help simplify your HIPAA compliance today!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article and on this blog post are those of the authors. These do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, and position of the Telebehavioral Health Institute (TBHI). Any content written by the authors are their opinion and are not intended to malign any organization, company or individuals.