Social media is everywhere – its ubiquitous use now touches nearly every facet of human life. In the healthcare industry specifically, users of social media must always be aware of the fine line between proper and improper information sharing.
Being governed by strict HIPAA compliance standards, the healthcare industry must manage the rising use of social media in healthcare settings. Maintaining HIPAA compliance must always be the first priority when sharing sensitive healthcare information.
According to a recent DC Interactive Group report, 26 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. participate in social media. Another study revealed that a whopping 92 percent of marketers indicate efforts in social media have created better exposure for their business.
Healthcare marketers have huge opportunities when it comes to social media marketing, but how do organizations know what is acceptable for them or their employees to share and what is not?
Social Media and HIPAA Compliance
There are a number of benefits to sharing information and patient success stories. Although HIPAA does provide a strict framework to operate within, there are still ways to stay social, secure and in compliance.
Although institutions and employees may use personal social media channels, discussing patient information on those channels is strictly forbidden. The following guidelines apply to healthcare businesses as well as workers:
- Avoid gossiping about patients.
- Identify a central point of contact.
- If you wouldn’t say it to a co-worker, don’t post it online.
- Be aware of the tone you are using when you post something.
- Do not bring professional matters into your personal life.
By using social media, healthcare marketers can both increase awareness and share positive stories. They can provide crucial information and assist with decision-making. By keeping these tips in mind, you can stay in compliance while still reaching your target audience.