You Must Safeguard PHI in HIPAA-Compliant Healthcare Marketing
HIPAA-compliant healthcare marketing follows strict rules, ensuring that specific information released through marketing campaigns is done so with a patient’s express consent. Without consent, your marketing campaign violates HIPAA protocols.
There are rules and limitations on how to use protected health information (PHI) in marketing. Within the context of HIPAA compliance, PHI includes all personal patient information, including:
- Email addresses
- Patient ID numbers
- Treatment information and results
- Prescribed or given medications
The Primary Rules of HIPAA-Compliant Marketing for Healthcare
Marketing for healthcare is similar to traditional marketing in other sectors, but with a key difference: marketing campaigns must be HIPAA compliant.
Here are some rules when it comes to protecting patient information:
- Selling an individual’s health information is only allowed with the patient’s written permission.
- Healthcare marketers must have updated written policies to reflect the HIPAA rules concerning their use and disclosure of PHI in marketing.
- There are strict guidelines when it comes to disclosing PHI to third parties. This includes software vendors and marketing partners, with limitations on using and disclosing the PHI expressly stated in all third-party agreements.
HIPAA-Compliant Email Marketing for Healthcare
Patient consent is the name of the game with HIPAA. You need consent to market to patients using data from their PHI.
A HIPAA-compliant email marketing platform is essential if there’s the potential for sending electronic protected health information (ePHI). This includes information that is both individually identifiable and relates to someone’s healthcare status.
For HIPAA-compliant email marketing, you must provide easy-to-use opt-in email capture forms to confirm patient approval before sending communications to their email address. Don’t let the compliance factor scare you away from this effective marketing strategy. According to a HubSpot survey, email marketing campaigns generate $38 for every dollar spent – offering an ROI of a whopping 3800%.
The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection produces a CAN-SPAM Act compliance guide for marketers. Email marketers must follow this guide when implementing campaigns.
- Unsubscribing should be easy
- Emails must include a mailing address for written correspondence
- Using the email’s “from,” “reply to,” and “routing information” sections, you must identify the business that is sending the email
- Include an accurate subject line
- Clearly and visibly identify your content as an advertisement
- Don’t create any emails using PHI without expressed and proven patient consent
- Encrypt every email with PHI, ensuring the content is only accessible to you and the recipient
- Servers storing email data with PHI must be encrypted with off-site backup