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HIPAA and Social Media!

Social Media can certainly enhance the doctor patient relationship by announcing new services and information to patients thereby improving overall health awareness.  Healthcare providers need to be aware of the potential of exposing patient information when using social media to interact with patients. 

Billions of people use social Media content every day and over 40% of healthcare professionals use the same platforms to build and expand their professional network. Huge advantages can be made when using Social Media such as Facebook to provide notifications about new services. Facebook advertising can be used to target specific groups of people and let them know about a new or critical health benefit you offer. An example of this could be to target mothers of children of a certain age within a specific area that vaccinations are available or due.

Call us if you need to provide this type of service for you practice. We provide advanced profesional Facebook advertising.

So what actions on Social Media violate HIPAA rules?
According to HIPAA regulations, a violation or breach is unauthorized use or disclosure under the Privacy Rule which exposes the privacy or security of Protected Health Information (PHI).

Examples of common violations include:

  • Sharing pictures (like a team lunch in the workplace) with patient information visible in the background.
  • Sharing any form of PHI (such as images) without the patient's written consent.
  • Posting "gossip" about a patient to those who are not concerned, even if the name is not mentioned.

How much could a HIPAA violations cost?
People in the healthcare industry cannot treat HIPAA lightly. If an employee were found guilty of violating a HIPAA rule, that person and the practice could face a fine between $100 and $1,500,000. Depending on the severity of the violation, the employee might face a 10-year jail sentence, lawsuits, termination from the job, and the loss of medical license.

What do you need to do to prevent violations?
It is a good idea to have employees undergo training on HIPAA Security and HIPAA Privacy procedures and policies when they are hired. Topics that should be discussed include computer use, computer and mobile device security, and bringing personal devices into the workplace.

These procedures are crucial to making sure that employees comply with HIPAA rules and are protecting patient information, whether it be electronic, written or oral.

Do you work in the healthcare industry? do you need help managing IT and privacy issues? or do you want to do some profesional Facebook marketing? if so Feel free to give us a call today!